Even though the subject matter of both paintings is the same, the differences are extremely significant, especially in what concerns the modelling, the brushwork and the composition. Cézanne’s painting has no illusion of reality due to the easily detected brushwork, little sense of depth, and delineation of form. There is almost no three-dimensionality, an element crucial to the creation of illusion, whereas in Vecchio’s there are several elements that create an idea of reality, an idea that the scene before us is indeed happening: the strong light sources that apparently model the figures and other objects, the traceable vanishing point, which is almost impossible to detect in Cézanne’s Bathers, and the significant contrast between the darker and lighter areas. The density of the brushstrokes and the absence of details in Cézanne’s painting break the illusion of the visual effect created by the harmony of colours, whereas in the Bathing Nymphs there is no apparent trace of the brushwork. The lines that are used by Cézanne around the central figures, the bodies, have as function to distinguish these bodies from the background, another aspect that affects the creation of illusion, since these lines do not exist in the visible world. In Vecchio’s there are no lines of this sort, and we distinguish each surface not for the separation created by the lines we see in the Bathers, but because their edges “create” shadows when they enter in touch. While in Vecchio’s painting there are different “layers” of elements that compose the depth of the image, in Cézanne the colours used are the only thing that creates depth, in a sense that the warmer colours at the front make this part appear closer to us than the background. However, the variations in tone are subtle, while Vecchio uses a vast palette of colours that allows us to distinguish each element of the composition clearly. In Cézanne, there are no individual forms modelled by light, which works in a...
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