A vast area of apparently randomly created shapes, the sort of fantastic playground that might have been created by a prehistoric giant, piling up blocks and digging holes before abandoning his extravagant scheme unfinished. Then Nature took over once again, spreading a carpet of vegetation over the place which had been briefly wrested from it.
Cézanne, exhibition The Last Years, 1978
A place of magic, perfectly preserved
Situated between the Tholonet and Vauvenargues roads, the rocky plateau of Bibémus has been quarried for stone since ancient times and was extensively used for new buildings in Aix in the 17th and 18th centuries. By Cézanne’s time, however, the quarries had been virtually abandoned and he was able to rent a hut where he could keep his canvases and stay overnight, too, if required.
In addition to the view over Mount Sainte-Victoire and the natural scenery portrayed in his pictures, the site provided Cézanne with the strange motifs of its geometric, ochre-colored rock faces, which he painted in the remarkable series of landscapes that herald Cubism and assure Bibémus a place of honour in world art history. The site has been perfectly preserved, spared by the ravages of time and conveying the atmosphere of a place apart from the world. Even the hut which Cézanne rented has survived in good repair.