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In 1896, Paul Cézanne went on holiday with his family to the French Alps. This view of the mountain lake of Annecy, near the Swiss border, was the only painting he made during the trip. He struggled with what he considered an overly charming and conventionally picturesque setting, which differed markedly from the rugged landscape of his native Provence. Yet, this emerges as one of his most daring paintings. Cézanne explored his surroundings in terms of form and colour and rearranged elements of the landscape to create a more harmonious composition. He transformed the distant castle into a combination of severe geometric shapes and rendered the light and shadow on the mountain slopes with contrasting, segmented colours. The tree at the left is bathed in sunlight, lending the painting a touch of warmth.

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