Professor Paul Smith awarded a Major Research Fellowship by the Leverhulme Trust
Professor Paul Smith from the Department of History of Art has been awarded a Major Research Fellowship by the Leverhulme Trust. This will allow him to undertake an interdisciplinary project entitled, Unfolding vision: Cezanne’s personal way of seeing. This aims to explain a range of ‘distortions’ characteristic of Cézanne’s paintings by drawing on recent developments in the psychology of perception, which suggest they arose from his practice of staring fixedly at things for long periods, and from attending to the effect of doing so on what lies in peripheral vision. It will be particularly concerned to show how Cezanne’s unusual way of seeing allowed him to capture how vision unravels, or unfolds through time. The project will also illuminate the interest of Cezanne’s work for later painters, and particularly the Cubist Braque, who also aimed to capture the ebb and flow of perception. The project’s broader ambition is to fill out how the activity of painting can alert us to the nature of seeing for embodied subjects who inhabit a world of things. It will therefore seek to contextualise Cezanne’s practice within the philosophical traditions of Existentialism and Phenomenology.