Cistern in the Park of Château Noir, ca. 1900
For much of his career, Cézanne took his subjects from the landscape in and around his native Aix, mainly focusing on a small number of sites, such as the area around the legendary Château Noir. The mansion had been built in the eighteenth century by an industrialist who manufactured lampblack paint. He used his product to decorate the interior walls and furniture, inspiring the locals to associate him with black magic and give his home the name Black Castle. Cézanne often depicted a panoramic view of the site. Here the artist has taken a different approach, focusing on an oak grove with an ancient stone cistern, which is visible in the lower left of the painting.