The Landscapes of Jean Charles Cazin

cazin_b1086_harvest_landscapeHere are some paintings of the French painter Jean Charles Cazin who died in 1901 (h/t Giovanni Patriarca). He is not painting in the Impressionist style, but in a more naturalistic style. The Impressionists gave a much more generally looser rendition of the subject matter and were inclined to exaggerate colour. These examples are drawing on a different sort of 'impressionism' that of Velazquez which was studied in 19th century Paris , that we see in paintings of artists such as John Singer Sargent. In my opinion this form of impressionism is superior to that work of the Impressionists such as Monet. The idea here is to reflect much more accurately how we really perceive things. So in these paintings some areas are painted loosely and those parts which are the natural foci of interest in the composition are more detailed. This reflects how we look at things, casting our eyes more slowly and carefully over those parts in a scene before us that are of greater interest and so in our mind's eye which is really where we 'see', those parts are always more detailed. He was admired in his day for his 'poetical' treatment of landscape and especially the scenes with peasants working in the fields. Some of these subjects are a little too sentimental for my taste. I have included some that do appeal, which I find tend to be those in which there are no human figures, or if there are any they do not figure too prominently in the composition. The scenes are all rural France except for the urban scene which is of Paris. Giovanni has written an article in which he talks of the problem of the frantic pace of modern life and how this habit of constant activity it engenders in us, even in recreation, acts to pull us away from meditation and contemplation in our prayer lives. For him, Cazin's rural scenes, especially those with workers resting in the fields are a visual inspiration that give us a sense of how to pause and give a moment to God. The article is published in Zenit here.



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