Rembrandt’s painting is an extensive panoramic view. This landscape is very impressive, although some details have become less visible due to ageing of the painting. On the plateau on the far left, the sun illuminates a town with a church tower. A wide river runs down, via a big waterfall. On the foreground of the painting we can also see quite a bit of activity; some grazing sheep on the left, and a man on horseback with a boy next to him in the middle. However, the most striking element in this painting is the ominous sky. The dark thunderclouds give the landscape a dramatic feel, whilst strokes of brightly lit clouds form a pleasant counterbalance.
Rembrandt’s landscape doesn’t depict an existing place, Cézanne’s painting does. His painting is of the landscape from his home in Aix-en-Provence in France, where he lived for many years. Cézanne painted several renditions of this particular view, especially the mountain in the background. This painting is a good example of the way Cézanne depicted nature, bending the rules of reality and our perception of it. The mountain and the buildings in the foreground have been reduced to slightly more simplistic forms, whilst they’re still very recognizable as parts of a landscape.
Rembrandt, Stormy landscape, c. 1637-1638 (Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, Braunschweig) and Paul Cézanne, Mont Sainte-Victoire, 1892-1895 (The Barnes Foundation, Merion, Pennsylvania)