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Posts Tagged ‘Paul Cézanne’

Paul Cezanne - Apples, Pears and Grapes
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The painter Paul Cezanne is oft remembered as an extremely focused artist who deeply scrutinized and meditated upon his subjects.  “The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution.”, he once said, as well as, “With an apple I will astonish Paris.” His work tried not to capture an object as seen by the naked eye, but rather to capture the momentary experience of an object that is perceived by a thinking, feeling individual.  “For an Impressionist to paint from nature is not to paint the subject, but to realize sensations”, seems to capture his effort to use painting to capture his deep inward and outward reflections of everyday life.

In some ways, this reminds me of yoga, when, with much practice, one becomes more adept at paying attention to specific details in time and space and reflecting deeply upon one’s inner reactions to the outer world.  I thought that one of Patanjali’s yoga sutras, “Yoga is the cessation of movements in the consciousness.” (I.2) sounded a lot like the master painter patiently working alongside a river who said, “Here, on the river’s verge, I could be busy for months without changing my place, simply leaning a little more to right or left.”

With this in mind, I dug into a few quotes from Paul Cezanne and ran them past some of Patanjali‘s yoga aphorisms.  I think both Patanjali and Cezanne were working very hard at being present and mindful in the moment and trying to unify their outward and inward experiences – one through yoga and one through painting!  Here are a few selected quote pairs with Cezanne on top and Pataljali below:

“Cezanne”

“Patanjali”

“When I judge art, I take my painting and put it next to a God made object like a tree or flower. If it clashes, it is not art.”

“When consciousness dissolves in nature, it loses all marks and becomes pure.” (I.45)

“A puny body weakens the soul.”

“Asana is perfect firmness of body, steadiness of intelligence and benevolence of spirit” (II.46)

“Right now a moment of time is passing by! We must become that moment.”

“Study of the silent moments between rising and restraining subliminal impressions is the transformation of consciousness towards restraint.” (III.9)

“The artist makes things concrete and gives them individuality.”

“Constructed or created mind springs from the sense of individuality” (IV.4)

“There are two things in the painter, the eye and the mind; each of them should aid the other.”

“Consciousness distinguishes its own awareness and intelligence when it reflects and identifies its source – the changeless seer – and assumes his form.” (IV.22)

“Optics, developing in us through study, teach us to see.”

“An object remains known or unknown according to the conditioning or expectation of the consciousness.” (IV.17)

“If isolation tempers the strong, it is the stumbling-block of the uncertain.”

“Practice and detachment are the means to still the movements of consciousness” (I.12)

“I could paint for a hundred years, a thousand years without stopping and I would still feel as though I knew nothing.”

“When the object of meditation engulfs the meditator, appearing as the subject, self-awareness is lost.  This is samadhi.” (III.3)

“Don’t be an art critic, but paint, there lies salvation”

“Practice is the steadfast effort to still these fluctuations.” (I.13)

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