‘Standing Female Nude’ is a poem depicting a woman posing nude for a painting. It is a dramatic monologue from the model’s point of view. Both the model and the painter work out of necessity. ‘The Journeyman Paul Cezanne On Mount Victoire’ by Lochhead, like ‘Standing Female Nude’, is a dramatic monologue, this time from the perspective of the artist as he considers how he achieves his art and dismisses his critics.
The artist in Duffy’s poem works out of necessity, ‘Because/ I have to. There’s no choice’. His work, ‘shall be represented analytically and hung/ in great museums’ for people to gaze it and admire. However, he is also concerned about the details of his work, ‘He is concerned with volume, space’; he is taking pride in his art. Paul Cezanne does not appear to work out of necessity, but is concerned with how he paints as Georges in ‘Standing Female Nude’ is, however more so than Georges as he appears almost obsessed with painting the Mount Victoire perfectly; throughout the poem as he lists objects which he has painted, ‘An apple, an orange, a ball, a head’ he keeps coming back to ‘this mountain’ as no matter how many times he has painted it, he is not contented with the outcome.
‘Standing Female Nude’ is written in four stanzas of seven lines which reflects the tight structure the artist follows when he is painting and short sentences, ‘Don’t talk’ show how abrupt he is with his model. He is patronising and has an inflated sense of self-worth, his model comments, ‘These artists/ take themselves too seriously’. He views himself as a professional but this professionalism falls away as ‘There are times he does not concentrate/ and stiffens for my warmth’. In contrast, ‘The Journeyman’ is written in free verse to symbolise the artist’s free flowing thoughts and how he has no focus on anything apart the mountain, the repetition of ‘this mountain’ shows this.
The crude language used in ‘Standing Female Nude’, ‘Belly nipple arse’ shows that the life of an artist isn’t glamourous; there is a clear juxtaposition between the creator of the art and the viewers of it, ‘The bourgeoisie’ and ‘the Queen of England’. However, in comparison to the artist’s model, the artist lives in luxury as she comments on his seemingly trivial concerns in comparison to hers, ‘He is concerned with volume, space./ I with my next meal.’ Similarly, Paul Cezanne does not live a glamourous life. His life is dominated by his art; this is shown as the statement, ‘I paint’ is on a line of its own to emphasis its importance in his life. He is obsesses with, ‘this mountain’, perhaps he focuses on this as he feels he lacks control of other aspects in his personal life.
This is juxtaposed by the artist in ‘Standing Female Nude’ as when he is finished with his painting, he fails to capture the vitality of the model as she observes, ‘It does not look like me.’ Yet he is proud of his work as he ‘proudly, lights a cigarette’, an act typically reserved for after sex, this artist makes the experience of art somewhat sexualised. The Journeyman, Paul Cezanne also emphasises the power of art as he states that, ‘colour can move, can make, mountains’, this demonstrates the power of art. He also says that art is more permanent than nature, ‘paint more permanent than stone/ constructed’. In this statement Paul Cezanne compares himself to the maker of nature as the maker constructed mountains from stone, he can construct one from paint. This shows his confidence as an artist; this can also be seen in how he ignores his critics and how he names himself a ‘journeyman’, a person who is a master of their craft.
Both artists dedicate their lives to art however one finds content in his work whilst the other is tormented by it and his inability to perfect it.