Czanne's mature conception of the landscape was on an altogether different scale than that of other Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painters. Whereas most landscape painters of the late 19th century favored close-up views of a scene, or focused on a motif that projected an intimately human scale, Czanne frequently takes a more panoramic point-of-view; nature is grandly conceived on a heroic, overpowering scale. Together with Czanne's distinctive pictorial structure, which emphasizes the flatness of the picture plane and undertakes a simultaneous analysis and reconstruction of reality, this characteristic sets him apart from most artists of this period. Czanne's landscapes, especially those among his late works, avoid the "domesticated" quality of the Impressionist landscape, and represents nature as it exists at a distance from humanity.
Czanne's watercolor technique reinforces the open, expansive character of his landscapes. As Rewald has noted concerning Paysage montagneux des environs d'Aix the present work, "The preparatory period drawing is very sketchy, whereas the mostly blue-green washes, with a few traces of light pink and yellow, are applied quite sweepingly" (op. cit., p. 168). In his late watercolors Czanne transforms his analytic technique into a broader, more gestural manner that is fully expressive of the sublime dimension in the landscape. "Behind the accentuated color of the foreground, the hills spread out in a wavelike succession; half fluctuating, half firm, they offer--as Chappuis put it--a sight of beautiful unity" (ibid.).