The River Scene Contact Information Claude Monet

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THE RIVER SCENE

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The ‘River scene’, from Giverny and the river Epte. Painted around 1886-88, 46x55cm.

 

Suzanne is sitting in a boat, the ‘Norvègienne’, out on the river, in the broad sunshine. Watch how the foreground is built up by the bank of the river. We find the same kind of triangular foregrounds in a lot of paintings, e.g. ‘Ice Floes, Bennecourt’ (Wildenstein: 1334; 1336; 1338). Another example of the same foreground is: ‘Les deux pêcheurs’, painted in 1882, (Daniel Wildenstein:749).
 


Ice Floes, Bennecourt


Les deux pêcheurs

When you look at the ‘River Scene’ - do you see that part of the bank has been painted over? It turns out, looking closer, that the whole painting has been changed in a very exciting way! Read more about this later on!

Dominating in the foreground are the branches with leaves hanging down like a curtain, ‘like a fringe of foliage’. This way of using a foliage, trunks, etc., as a 'stop' for our eyes, gliding further into the scene, is very often used by Monet.

Picture yourself standing next to the artist on the riverbank, in the shadowy light, looking out over the water. You can almost feel a light breeze coming from the river. It is noon and it is a hot day!

Before we continue, let us listen to Claude Monet himself, when he describes how to paint:

“When you go out to paint, try to forget what objects you have in front of you, a tree, a field. Merely think, here is a little square of blue, here is an oblong of pink, here a streak of yellow, and paint is just as it looks to you, the exact colour and shape until it gives you your own naive impression of the scene.”

(From ‘River of Light’, by Douglas Skeggs, London 1987).


Claude Monet Painting at the Edge of a Wood (detail),
by John Singer Sargent, Tate Gallery London.

Douglas Skeggs writes:
“The technique as described by Monet sounds simple enough, but it requires painstaking concentration, as each tone and colour must be exactly right before it reaches the canvas. The effect, however, cannot be matched; it is fresh and spontaneous and gives the illusion of having been effortlessly achieved.”

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