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P22 Cezanne

By P22


Cézanne is a script typeface based on the handwriting of famous 19th century artist Paul Cézanne and released in 1996 by Michael Want and Richard Kegler of the P22 Type Foundry after a commission by the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The Cézanne character set is augmented by the addition of a series of alternate characters and swashes.

The font foundry, P22 was the brainchild of Richard Kegler, concentrating on the production of typefaces influenced by history, art and occasionally science. Richard Kegler himself was trained in the arts and wrote his Master’s thesis on the renowned 20trh century artist Marcel Duchamp.

The Cézanne typeface designed by Kegler & Want uses actual handwriting samples from Paul Cézanne which were taken apart and reconstructed digitally with individual letters being separated from the words they were sampled from. The leaders and tails were adjusted so that all letters would connect at the same point so there are no extraneous strokes or unconnected letters unless Cézanne’s handwriting had them too. This is apparent with the lower case “w” and “d” which have swashes on the last stroke curving away from the next letter. The Cézanne typeface surprisingly does not look too contrived as can be a problem with handwriting and scripted fonts.

The result is a usable script typeface that accurately depicts Cézanne’s slightly shaky handwriting style but there are other reasons for the less than regular shapes in the Cézanne typeface. Cézanne lived in an era when written material was created using a quill and a pot of ink. Consequently, his handwriting contains irregularities that are common with quill–written text. Some of the curves have an irregular stroke such as the ascender on the lower case “d” the descending stroke on the lower case “p” and the upper case “T” which also uses an old style format.

After releasing the initial Cézanne Regular character set, P22 continued work on this intriguing font family by adding Cézanne alternate character sets, Swashes and ligatures. They also added a character set that consist of 72 Cézanne drawings and sketches. The sketches include some self-portraits and skulls interspersed with a range of other line-drawn sketches.

Although a good effort at reproducing Cézanne‘s handwriting, this typeface family has only limited application. It would suit usage in art catalogs, as a caption font for art images or in a biography where old handwriting might be appropriate for certain sections. Greetings cards and similar types of stationery could also be a good use of the Cézanne font.

This font family contains a very wide range of characters with a full western & central European and Cyrillic character sets. The swashes are available in snap-on format and there are a variety of numeral styles to choose from. The OpenType format allows for some very clever manipulations whereby letter combinations can be substituted to ensure that the handwriting that is produced flows freely and looks as natural as possible.

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