Art Review – Monet – The Bridge At Argenteuil – Grey Day
December 12, 2015 8:04am CST
No one captures sunlight reflecting on water as beautifully as Monet managed in this work from 1876. The bridge itself is a narrow horizontal strip of detail dividing the canvas right along the middle. The foreground presents several moored boats and a large rather rickety house-boat. Though there are few people are in view the water looks like a hive of recent activity. Monet painted the scene while standing in a small boat himself so the slight wobble reflects the boat he is in moving with the waves and ripples shifting his perception slightly as he works. The grey sky dominates the half of the canvas depicted above the bridge, giving a sense of Monet’s urgent need to finish the painting before darkness and bad weather bring the opportunity to a close. The painting embodies the central principles of the Impressionist art movement Monet fathered. Artists should paint what they see on location, rather than in studio bound settings and inject their thoughts and feelings, or first impressions of what they see into the work too. This became a central philosophy of the movement that followed him. Arthur Chappell The painting -
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7 people like this
• Pleasant Hill, California
12 Dec 15
I got to spend some tome with some of Monet's paintings at the Met in NY. It was fascinating to get close, look at his brush strokes, and then move slowly backwards until things "snapped" into focus. I wondered if he ever did the same while painting. Probably not on a boat, though.
• Cambridge, England
12 Dec 15
Monet is one of my favourite artists. In fact, the French Impressionists are, as a whole, I think, the group with which I have the most sympathy. Perhaps this is because the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge owns one of Monet's finest paintings - "Le Printemps" - which has always been one which I seek out and marvel at whenever I visit. Monet often did paint from a small boat in midstream but this painting was actually painted from the bank rather than from a boat, as can easily be seen from the perspective, where the artist is clearly several metres above the level of the decks of the moored yachts and the roof of the houseboat on the right. Elementary perspective also shows that his eyeline is approximately half way between the windows of the first and second storeys of the yacht club building, which puts him only just below the height of the base of the first arch on the bridge. Other than this, I completely agree that Monet was very adept at painting quickly en plein air and very eager to capture the light of the moment. The story of his painting of the 'Haystacks' series is very illustrative of this!