Pissarro and Cezanne compare and contrast

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Bridging the Gap: A Comparison of Pissarro and Cézanne

Paul Cézanne and Camille Pissarro were two Impressionist artists who shared a friendship that greatly influenced their artwork. The two artists collaborated on their artwork, sharing similar painting techniques and depicting similar subject matter. This cooperation is explored in the special exhibit "Pioneering Modern Painting: Cézanne and Pissarro 1865-1885," on display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

The comparison of Pissarro's Small Bridge, Pontoise, 1875, and Cézanne's The Bridge at Maincy, near Melun, 1879-1880, demonstrates the mutually beneficial relationship that existed between these two artists. Pissarro's work measures 25 13/16 by 32 1/16 inches, a few inches larger than Cézanne's, which measures at 23⅝ by 28¾ inches, and both works are in the traditional style of oil on canvas. Pissarro and Cézanne have both depicted a landscape, which was typical of Impressionist subject matter, and it is possible that both works were painted en plein air, French for "in open air," outside the studio as was also common among the Impressionists.

These two representations of bridges were completed within five years of each other, and it is easy to spot the parallels that Cézanne makes in his composition to the composition of Pissarro. This can be seen by breaking the compositions down to the foreground, mid-ground, and background. The composition in both paintings is linear, with the action going across the width of the canvas and creates a very stable feeling. Both works include a pair of trees in the foreground that obscures the viewer's observation of the bridge and have the feeling of being the objects closest to the viewer. In Pissarro's painting, the pair of trees appears in the composition on the right side of the bridge, partially blocking the view of the bridge without crossing the...