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From as early as the fourteenth century, painting found a home beneath the azure skies of Roman civilization, and prestigious art schools grew up in the prosperous cities of Nice, Aix, and Avignon. Though initially the landscapes of Provence were relegated to the background of altarpieces, the early presence of artists in the area prepared the terrain for a new flourishing of talent five centuries later. In this book, art historian Philippe Cros takes us on a tour across Provence from west to east, stopping at villages, towns and sites which have featured so prominently in the region’s artistic history. Focusing on painters of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the author looks at works by local artists, including Cezanne, a native of Aix-en-Provence, but also at the paintings of van Gogh, Picabia, Picasso, Signac, Cross, Braque and Matisse. The region’s rich vegetation, mountains, shorelines and mesmerizing light became the catalyst for an explosive expression of talent; van Gogh painted furiously during and after his stay in the asylum at Saint-Remy; the Fauves’ ‘wildly’ colored paintings were inspired by the vibrant colors along the coast; Bonnard’s lush sense of color developed in his contemplation of the views from his villa in Le Cannet; in Arles, a ninety-year-old Picasso attended bullfights and sketched daily. Over 130 paintings and 40 period photographs of the region illustrate the different styles inspired by Provence, from realistic landscapes in the classical tradition to Impressionist and Fauve renditions, offering successive visions of now world-famous sites including the Mont Sainte-Victoire, L’Estaque, and the once-modest fishing villageSaint-Tropez. ‘The Painters of Provence’ is completed by a guide to the principal museums in the region and biographies of the artists discussed.