Nature may be as ever-present in an artist’s Geist as people and cityscapes. Earlier we discussed Van Gogh’s Starry Night. The artist actually stood upon that spot to observe, with his eye and his creative imagination, the scene before him. Paul Cezanne’s Mont Sainte-Victoire, 1902-4, is similarly of a scene that artist frequented. Please refer to the image of the painting and of the photograph of the mountain from that perspective. What did Cezanne actually copy from that view? Naturalistic are the shape of the mountain, the scale of the trees and vegetation, the scattered placement of the buildings, and general reddish color of the southern French soil.

These observations evidence his use of disegno esterno. But while he felt a need to record the physical essence of the site, he needed to capture more. His disegno interno is evident in the patchwork quilt-like abstraction and simplification of objects into geometric shapes, the brightness of the colors (orange and yellow against cool greens and blues), and the patterning of the sky. Like Van Gogh, Cezanne may have felt a mystic sympathy with nature, its rhythms and beautiful patterns.