Mount Sainte-Victoire with a Large Pine

Mount Sainte-Victoire stands to the east of Aix-en-Provence, dominating views of the surrounding landscape.

The mountain already held a symbolic appeal for the region. It was associated with an ancient Roman victory and with early Christian festivals.

In Cézanne’s time, a cross was erected at its peak to celebrate the fact that Provence had been spared from invasion during the Franco-Prussian war (1870-71).

However whilst Cézanne’s rendering of the mountain makes it monumental, he deliberately prevents us from seeing this as a timeless classical landscape: there is a modern railway viaduct to the right hand side of the composition, and the small blocky houses represent local farmhouses rather than great classical architecture.

This painting was first exhibited at a local salon of amateur artists in Aix-en-Provence in 1895. This may be surprising, given that Cézanne had achieved success in Paris and exhibited in more official spaces before this: for the local population however, Cézanne’s modern approach was incomprehensible. 


Find out more

Looking in detail at Cézanne's Montagne Sainte Victoire with Professor John House.

Watch the movie [9:37 min]


Impressionists and Post Impressionists
With Dr Caroline Campbell, Schroder Foundation Curator of Paintings.

Watch the movie [9:37 min]