Why Did Depression Almost Get the Best of Cezanne?


Painter Cezanne was a post-impressionist French artist who bridged the gap between 19th-century Impressionism to 20th century Cubism. His artworks consisted of plain colors and small brushwork, which were way different than the artists of his times. 

His artistic style was very captivating and had an approach quite varied from the generic ones. World-class artists like Picasso and Matisse called Cezanne the “Father of them all.” His exceptional brushwork was the characteristic of his artworks, inspiring so many artists of his time. 

But, this artist has an untold story that very few know about. Unlike Van Gogh, whose depression got so much recognition, Cezanne’s remains unrecognized. Was he suffering from depression? Tap into this lucrative segment to unveil the unknown about Paul Cezanne.

Paul Cezanne – The Mad Artist 

Post-Impressionist artist Paul Cezanne was a loner and resisted meeting new people. Sometimes, Cezanne himself considered if he was mad. “Tell me, do you think I’m going mad? I sometimes wonder if “you know” were his own words. 

Well, the problem started in 1890 when he was initially diagnosed with diabetes. After that, he was destabilized by his personality so much that he restrained many of his relationships with others. 

Although, his painting abilities were the least affected by it. 

Cezanne did admire his work but rarely liked his paintings. He spent a long time painting but later destroyed them if he was unsatisfied with his works. It is believed that once, Cezanne put someone to sit to paint an artwork. 

He spent three months doing the same but then destroyed the artwork. As he said, was not worthy enough to live up to his expectations. In fact, for some sitters, it was torture for them to model for him. That’s why he was considered a mad artist! 

Cezanne and His Sorrow 

Cezanne suffered from depression, and it worsened in his later years. Along with diabetes, the artist had a tough time coping with depression. He manifested a usual distrust for fellow human beings. This led to his excessive paranoia. 

One of the best Paul Cezanne drawings, Sorrow, painted in 1867, is a depiction of his feelings. In it, a male figure is depicted who is supposedly carrying the weight of an Impressionist underdog. It portrays failure and loss as a man that he thinks of himself. 

Even though the plot of the painting is full of sadness and sorrow, there is still a soft element to it. There is some kind of softness amongst the pain, which doesn’t refer to the figure being weak. Instead, it shows the depth of the emotions he owns, apart from being so disheartened. 

Painting for him was like a medium of expressing his feelings, both happiness and sadness. Few people in his life will be an enormous count for Cezanne. He was all alone in his journey and resided as such until death. As an artist, his life was incessantly punctured with success but nothing to be happy about. 

Paul Cezanne and Success

Undoubtedly, Paul Cezanne was a late bloomer compared to the other post-Impressionist artists. Nevertheless, he was regarded as the country pumpkin from France, who was perceived to change the idea of generic painting. 

He stressed changing the notion of what is real and captured the most fleeting aspects of objects, people, and the surroundings in their rawest form. He re-defined beauty in the nuances of surroundings, captivated them in lush, and achieved the same on his canvas with spastic brushstrokes. 

Earlier, he was not considered for the painting ideas and creativity he brought to life. As a result, all his success was when he was old or after-life. This was also a contributing factor to his soaring depression then. Not getting enough recognition for his hard work left him in self-doubts and completely broke his heart. 

Cezanne and Criticism

Not everyone loved the techniques used in Paul Cezanne drawings. The Salons in Paris constantly rejected him. He was once upon a time called “a dirty little hedgehog of a man.” Facing so much criticism on his own lowered his self-esteem. 

He escaped meeting people because of the judgments and unappreciated comments they put forth. He had a long-life partnership with a woman named Hortense. The relationship also seemed tension-filled and not so happy on the romantic forefront. It was as if whatever Cezanne faced was all on himself. 

He had no one to confide in for comfort, peace, or to share his deep feelings. Except for one person who Cezanne admired. His dear friend, Emile Zola. She was one of her closest friends, with whom he surpassed little moments of joy in a life full of anxiety.

For anyone who lived through such criticism, grief, and mental instability, both from others and himself. It is a daily test of perseverance and a matter of survival. Nonetheless, he never gave up painting, and it was an instinctual gesture that caused him both frustration and happiness. 

The Bottom Line 

Famous painter Cézanne chose to shine above all the odds only through his sheer talent and the idea of never giving up. As a result, he becomes an admirable man for everyone trying to do the same. Not just on the subject of the painting, but through the whole point of view towards life. You can check Paul Cezanne’s drawings to know more about the sensational works he gifted us.