Cézanne and Renoir: Art, Beauty, Self-Improvement, and Friendship

Revealing the Importance of Nature Through Art

On the occasion of the visit of our beloved Irish friend, we had the opportunity to visit the Renoir and Cézanne exhibition at Palazzo Reale.

Palazzo Reale pays tribute to the legacy of Paul Cézanne and Pierre Auguste Renoir, masters who contributed decisively to the birth of Impressionism, which celebrated its 150th anniversary on April 15, 2024.

So, the exhibition explores their influence on subsequent artistic movements. A journey through their most iconic paintings, from portraits to landscapes, still lifes, and bathers. Also, the exhibition ends with a section documenting how decisive the impact and influence of the two artists were on the subsequent generation of artists by comparing two Cézanne and Renoir works with two Pablo Picasso paintings.

Since our Irish friend Pauline is a painter and art teacher, she provided insights on colours and shapes, perspective and depth. Our pathway through the rooms of Palazzo Reale has been a full immersion in absolute beauty. We had the chance to discover more about Cézanne and Renoir, their different painting techniques, their life struggles, and their friendship. Indeed, their diverse traits joined them like a magnet, offering complementarity to each other. A deep connection, a shelter they couldn’t renounce. Also, despite their health issues, they remained passionate about creating art.

Cézanne and Renoir exhibition at Palazzo Reale, Milano
A reconstruction of Renoir’s studio

Some of Cézanne and Renoir memorable quotes

But the experience was so rich and profound that it’s difficult to summarise in just a few takeaways. So, we share some memorable quotes we found in the rooms:

“Art touches emotions. If it needs to be explained, it is not art.” Pierre-Auguste Renoir

“If my canvas is imbued with an undefined cosmic spirituality that moves me and makes me better, it will also move others, touching a part of their sensitivity of which they may be unaware.” Paul Cézanne

“A state of grace comes from contemplating God’s most beautiful creation: the human body. Suffering passes, beauty remains. I am perfectly happy.” Pierre-August Renoir

“Progress can only be made through nature; the eye is educated in relation to this.” Paul Cézanne

Exploring the paintings of Cézanne and Renoir has been such a meaningful experience. A lesson on art, beauty, self-improvement, and friendship. However, the importance of nature emerges through their art. Nature teaches through its form, which the artist interprets with an increasingly personal vision. Ultimately, nature is an open space to observe and contemplate the world. A space for observation, refuge, departure, and return. Therefore, a space to preserve.

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Patti Smith & “The infinite”

How to make sense of our world and recharge our spirit

Art helps us make sense of the world. It is beauty, in essence. So, we search for it in any form. Patti Smith & “The Infinite” is one of those forms.

You know life is unpredictable. You make your plans, but life makes its own. And so, because of covid, on the 1st of August, we had to miss Patti Smith’s concert in Milano. 

Her music and poetry are a potent blend. And we are sure her performance would have been so beneficial for our souls.

Also, we really appreciate how she redefined the role of female representation in rock music. Indeed, her androgynous outfits are a big inspiration in fashion. Mannish white shirt and blazer, loose necktie, never pretty but pure coolness. Her style is so iconic that she has created a unique aesthetic. 

By the way, as a homage to Italy in Pompei, Rome and Milan, Patti Smith recited the poem: “The infinite” – by Giacomo Leopardi.

Patti Smith reading Giacomo Leopardi

This is the poem in Italian, but you can listen to the English version directly from Patti Smith’s voice – here


«Sempre caro mi fu quest’ermo colle,
e questa siepe, che da tanta parte
dell’ultimo orizzonte il guardo esclude.
Ma sedendo e mirando, interminati
spazi di là da quella, e sovrumani
silenzi, e profondissima quiete
io nel pensier mi fingo, ove per poco
il cor non si spaura. E come il vento
odo stormir tra queste piante, io quello
infinito silenzio a questa voce
vo comparando: e mi sovvien l’eterno,
e le morte stagioni, e la presente
e viva, e il suon di lei. Così tra questa
immensità s’annega il pensier mio:
e il naufragar m’è dolce in questo mare.»

Art, music, and poetry reflect a certain mindset and a specific style. Most importantly, they bring in the beauty we need to make sense of our world. And the peace of mind to get by with life.

In the end, art, music, and poetry are beauty. 
Beauty that heals our souls. 

Hope “L’infinito” will recharge your spirit!

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Art, affect and persuasiveness

Art is one of the greatest sources of inspiration of all time.

Sunday morning, we went to the Castello Sforzesco to see ‘The body and Soul, from Donatello to Michelangelo’ – an exhibition dedicated to Italian Renaissance sculpture.

It was a beautiful sunny day. We wore our face masks, showed our green pass, and went in to explore.

art exhibition at Castello Sforzesco  'The body and the soul, from Donatello to Michelangelo'

At that time (1453 – 1520), communication was in the hands of the church and nobles, those who had power and money. From this viewpoint, there’s not much difference compared to those who deploy massive communication nowadays.

One of the sections was called ‘Sacred art: affect and persuasiveness.’
The board reads: ‘Affect and persuasiveness became the two key words in religious sculpture: following the work by Donatello around 1450, emotion and the motions of the soul took centre stage in artistic practices, in the desire to deeply, even violently, affect viewers.’

In other words, those who had money commissioned artists to represent catholic figures to influence the masses. Undoubtedly art was magnificent, and viewers could feel the pathos.

Modern methods of persuasion

Translating this communication process to modern times, we see that the logic of influencing people is still crucial. ‘Affect and persuasiveness’ are used not to make the masses believe in God but to sell them everything. Brands and products are the new gods.

Over the centuries, masses went from faith believers to consumers. However, artists still had to work hard to make something breathtaking to influence people. Indeed to reach that level of beauty, their artistic work demanded an enormous effort.

Now, the two keywords are still the same, ‘affect and persuasiveness.’ What changed is who the masses consider influencers. The way they put out their work and interact with their audience, which is a by-product of what we call progress.

In the past, art influenced us, taking to deep involvement, while empty superficiality impresses people now.

Perhaps something went wrong.

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