There may be an “important paradox” to the work of Paul Cézanne, mentioned Alastair Sooke in The Day by day Telegraph. Taken at face worth, his photos look somewhat “conventional”: the portraits, landscapes and nonetheless lifes he favoured all seem to be solidly representational, depicting identifiable objects, figures and motifs somewhat than something that might instantly be thought of radical. But at the identical time, he’s held up as “the alpha and omega of contemporary artwork”; certainly, no much less a determine than Pablo Picasso described him as “the daddy of us all”.

Though his improvements won’t be clear to the lay­man at first look, Cézanne (1839-1906) “desecrated” many “sacred pictorial conventions that had lingered because the Renaissance”, taking away linear perspective and making use of “anti-illusionistic results”, equivalent to leaving patches of canvas fully naked. Fairly how groundbreaking this actually was is made abundantly clear on this “nigh-on note-perfect” new exhibition at Tate Fashionable. Bringing collectively dozens of works from each stage of Cézanne’s profession, it’s “a present of diligent, detailed scholarship that gives a cornucopia of pleasures for the eyes in addition to the thoughts”. In its sweep, it demonstrates how the painter turned artwork on its head and “invitations us to contemplate him afresh”. All of it provides as much as one thing “ravishing” and “completely compelling”.

The primary half of the present is dedicated to Cézanne’s early efforts, mentioned Hettie Judah in The i Paper. Born in Provence, he moved to Paris as a younger man with the intention of astonishing the French capital’s artwork world. It reveals: lots of his “brilliantly odd less-known work” discover decidedly “lurid themes”. The Homicide (1867-70), as an illustration, is an evening scene depicting “a girl being held to the floor as a person lunges throughout her physique, knife held aloft”.

It’s “standard to inform a story of Cézanne’s growth from such turbulent early work to his calm, disciplined later achievement”, mentioned Jonathan Jones in The Guardian. However his nice works, typically seen as ultra-serious “philosophical conundrums”, are additionally playful, sly and touching. In his nonetheless lifes, fruit is amassed in piles that couldn’t “presumably be static in the way in which he reveals them”. Cézanne’s bottles and plates teeter in positions that undermine the legal guidelines of physics; he performs “boules in curved space-time together with his apples”.

In outdated age, Cézanne “achieved ever better amplitude and richness”, mentioned Jackie Wullschläger within the FT. Witness, as an illustration, the 9 views of Mont Sainte-Victoire in Provence that are featured right here – from “a peaceful, crystalline panorama” paying homage to Poussin, to a “rhapsodic” late work that depicts the mountain “surging whereas additionally showing to glide on the bottom”, and the land in entrance of it melting into “gold-green dabs”.

Tellingly, we see many work that have been as soon as owned by fellow artists: 1878’s The Sea at L’Estaque behind Timber, a “pre-cubist construction of staggered homes on a hill”, as soon as belonged to Picasso; Scipio (1867), depicting a black determine with “rippling muscle tissues”, used to hold in Monet’s dressing room. This present tells “the foundational story of contemporary artwork” – a “hypnotically absorbing” drama of “one man reinventing the probabilities of paint”. Seeing all these works in a single place is “breathtaking, baffling, intensely pleasurable”. “Tate Fashionable has by no means had an exhibition so splendid.”