Magic at the Museum: Alexandre

Continuing with my series of characters from Magic at the Museum, I want to introduce you to Alexandre. "Man with a pipe" was painted by Paul Cézanne, and now hangs in the Courtauld Art Gallery. Alexandre was a peasant gardener. I think Cézanne used lots of browns, ochres, yellows and greens to paint him because he worked with in nature and with the earth.

Cézanne focused on the relationships of colour and tone, rather than literal representation of the subject. I tried to emulate that by laying the water colour pigment quite thickly on the paper.

If you look closely, you will see that his head is very small compared to his body (or, perhaps he is just very tall). I used this feature to advantage in the action scenes; Alexandre always looks very strong and powerful. In response to the sometimes odd perspective in his paintings, Cézanne told his critics, "I have a lazy eye." :-) Alexandre's elongated body perfectly compliments the strange anatomy of the Italian Madonna, whom you will hear about next.

The skating pose you see above is a funny quote of a Scottish painting called The Reverend Robert Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch. It was painted by Sir Henry Raeburn in 1790. I think it is really fun to add small art historical inside jokes into children's picture books. Although the children and parents might not understand when they read the book, it will add an element of depth that otherwise wouldn't be there.