Seven Bathers Oil on canvas, 38 x 46 cm Photo: Christian Baur, Basel
Prompted by his study of the Old Masters and evidently also by the desire to evoke a kind of paradisiacal condition, a Golden Age in the form of a perfect masterpiece, from the 1870s onwards Cézanne returned again and again to the theme of ‘bathers’. The Fondation’s Seven Bathers is especially beautiful. Here, too, Cézanne explores the correspondence between the brush drawing and patches of colour to blend the figures into the landscape. Particularly striking in this scene are the numerous clusters of black lines that possibly depict reeds or could be interpreted as repeated attempts to redefine the figures’ contours. Or was Cézanne seeking to convey the figures’ movements?