Under the bridge, Paris
Department of Art after 1800
|Medium:||oil on canvas|
|Dimensions:||73 x 92.5 cm|
|Collection:||Department of Art after 1800|
In June 1870, Monet spent his honeymoon in Trouville, on the Normandy coast. Trouville was one of the most fashionable seaside resorts of the day. In many works, Monet recorded the interesting new phenomena of early tourism. In the early impressionist painting held in Budapest, though, there is not a single trace of the bustling busy beaches, nor even of the events going on in the Franco-Prussian War, which was being fought at the time: as the river Touques flows into the sea, there is nothing to disturb the peace of the fishing figures. The restrained tones, the pictorial structure built up of strong diagonals and independant fields of colour, and the slightly overhead perspective, all recall the world of Japanese woodblock prints. The apparently random composition is in fact designed with meticulous care: the mass of the breakwater that seals the left-hand edge of the painting is countered on the right, where the dark band stretching along the line of the horizon marks the invisible boundary between the river and the sea. His sensitive portrayal of the cloudy sky, which seems to merge almost with the sea, reveals a direct observations of atmospheric effects. The sails reflected in the water are also handled with Monet’s rapid and light brushstrokes: the bright, refreshing patch of the pink sail in truth is what brings the picture to life.