Behind the behind

The theory behind the behind in Modern Art finally revealed

FebMaster1.JPG (35874 bytes)A careful inspection of Cezanne’s very special handling of the behinds of his nudes reveals the pervasive influence this had on the whole future of Modern Art. Scholarly critics who for generations have credited Cezanne as the father of practically everything in serious Modern Art have overlooked this entirely. Cezanne’s behinds are the embryonic missing link in the transition from the 19th century academic behind to that of the modern minimal nude. In this feature alone lies the transition to all modern minimalism.

Cezanne started the "Great Bathers." (London National Gallery) in 1900 and completed it in 1906 one year after the death of Bouguereau.

Click on small pictures to enlarge

bouguereau25.JPG (31493 bytes)Throughout art history few behinds became as major a feature of the composition as those in the paintings of the 19th century academic Bouguereau. Oddly, it was really Bouguereau’s behinds that started the ball rolling. Although today’s critics recognize the superior technique and unique rendering in these behinds they are careful to warn the public of their insidious attractions. There is no dissent among them that this feature in Bouguereau’s paintings represents the height of kitsch, insincerity and downright artistic evil. Some of the major modern innovations are revealed to anyone willing to closely observe how Cezanne handled the behind in this early modern masterpiece


cez5.jpg (49849 bytes)The behind in nude in nudes 6 and 7 are still realistically bifurcated. Cezanne cleverly put these in the background. As such they hark back to 19th century nudes. The last of the lot.

Lying on the ground more prominently right in front of nude 6 and 7 is a more modern nude. Note the features carefully. Most any complexity of former figure rendering is here beginning to evaporate; The body from torso to hips is modern minimal sausage like. There is still a slight crease on the otherwise minimal upper torso. In the legs Cezanne cleverly extinguishes any distracting complexity of feet by covering them with a minimal rendition of drapery or whatever that is. The sausageness of these appendages aptly complements the torso along with an intentionally featureless bubblehead. This head which really hangs in thin air is obviously poised to roll down the crease of the back and stop at the still bifurcated minimalised behind. Cezanne has taken most of the mass of the now small minimalised behind and used it to inflate the legs and torso. The body is now a gas filled bag which hovers slightly above the ground. All this by manipulating the prominently featured behind of nude 5.


cez1-2.jpg (48917 bytes)Magnificently balancing off the tension of the inflated nude 5 is the compression, or better still, the decompression of Nude 1. She is as flat as the white plasterboard bath towel emanating from her outstretched legs. This certainly anticipated the Greenbergian flatness of fifty years later.

Directly in front of nude 1 sits the pie’ce de resistance in this early modern masterpiece, nude 2.

Here we see the first totally minimal glorious unbifurcated behind in important Modern Art. All the features of nude 2 lead the eye to this major point of departure. The slight taper of the figure forces the eye down to where the major point of gravity resides. Notice how Cezanne makes the wig look like it is about to slid down the now smooth back and past the behind before it will gently come to rest on the orange pavement below. Even the featureless hand and still life on the right are minimally rendered in muted colors so as not to distract from the theoretical message that this unbifurcated behind holds for the whole future of Modern Art.

The pervasive influence of the power of minimalism in Cezanne’s behinds immediately caught the attention of Matisse and Picasso who made Cezanne’s discoveries the major feature in their masterpieces. At this point in time the minimal, in realism, technique, drawing ability and skill at last play a major role.

Mat blue_nude.jpg (102255 bytes)Have a close look at this great masterpiece. The behind is as masterful as the foliage in the background. Notice the color, the drawing, composition, the technique. It takes some skill to get this bad. This artist was expert in messing up hands and feet. At least his incompetence is consistent. He never stopped trying, which goes to show that perseverance doesn't always pay.
Picasso,s answer.jpg (19560 bytes)Two nudes with advanced schmaltzheimer's discussing diets. The tomato soup in the background does much to add to the heat of the discussion. Weight loss was an issue even at the time this masterpiece was done.This artist tried doing caricatures most of his life. He sometimes filled them in with nice colors.
picasso sculpture.jpg (19285 bytes)The height of 20th century talent. Notice the scatological finish on this work It says something about the behind.
dali12.jpg (40397 bytes) This artist who critics dub as thoroughly bad, insincere and a commercially tainted clown painted this very evil behind. Critics label his work kitsch and try to avoid any further mention of this sort of modern classicism. Many books on surrealism barely mention him. His work is in many museum collections. It was usually acquired during the days when craftsmanship was still somewhat museum curators.
Vargas1.jpg (23824 bytes)The artist did evil pin-up in later life. He is never mentioned by critics. His behinds offend them, in their realism and technique. He brings out the prude in aesthetes who ignore any art of this character. I have never seen any of his original work in an exhibition professing to show art although his work is very modern.


Some of My Work
Advice for Students
No Skill No Art
An Example of Artspeak
Raising Prices
Behind the behind
Parody and Laughter as Criticism
Critique by Comparison
Good and Evil
Modern Artists I Like
Any Comments?

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Copyright 1997-2002 Mani de Li
Modern Art, Picasso, Matisse, Mondrian, Pollock, de Kooning, Johns, Rothko, Miro, Warhol, Cezanne, Kline, Chagall, Dali, Greenberg, Bauhaus, Barnet Newman, Calder, Castelli, Dubuffet, Duchamp, Gorkey, Guston, Kandinsky, Hans Hofmann, Clement Greenberg, Paul Klee, Motherwell