In 1877, Claude Oscar Monet moved to the town of Vétheuil, in the suburbs of Paris. He painted many artworks of the landscape, including the Seine river, a subject portrayed by many Impressionists and Post-Impressionist, like Vincent Van Gogh and Pierre Auguste Renoir. The artist also had a very productive summer, where he represented the surroundings of the city, in 1880. After the death of his wife, Camille, in 1879 Monet married Alice Hoschedé, who was already his good friend and very close to his children. The artist had children took care of his kids from his first marriage, as well as Alice’s kids. During this period, the artist’s work went through a significant transformation, as he started to experiment more.
While living in Vetheuil in 1888, Monet painted Antibes Seen From The Salis Gardens2, portraying a colorful and expressive landscape. With a bold color palette, Monet represents the warmth cast on the scene by the mighty sun. On the forefront, the Impressionist depicts large trees with thin brown trunks. The leaves are bright yellow and orange – complementing with the purple he used for shadow. The sea in the background changes from purple to green is a fantastical way. The faraway city is rich in light and shadow, as the setting sun shines from the far left – out of the viewpoint. The far background depicts light purple mountains and the sky, much like the sea, changes from green to purple, but more lightly.
Like many other Impressionist, Monet was inspired by the Japanese woodcut prints that came to Europe. These exotic artworks brought subjects of nature and its calmness, along with bright colors and unusual compositions. Artists like Hokusai were admired for their simplicity. The direct contact artists had with nature was a fundamental influence on the aesthetic progression of the movement. They painted en plein air, meaning they worked outside to capture the optical effects natural sunlight had on the landscape and the figures.
In Antibes Seen From The Salis Gardens2 Monet experiments with a different composition, as he places the main subject – the city of Antibes – and puts the tree as the main figure of the painting. He also creates a beautiful unity with this complementary color combination: purple and yellow.
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