While living in the suburbs of Paris, in a town called Vétheuil, in the year of 1877, Claude Oscar Monet painted many landscapes of the region. The Seine river passed through this city and many Impressionists and Post-Impressionist, like Vincent Van Gogh and Pierre Auguste Renoir portrayed various views of it. The summer of 1880 was very productive for Monet, as he depicted the surroundings of the city in a series of paintings.
Monet painted the landscape Apple Trees On The Chantemesle Hill one year after he arrived in Vétheuil. The painting is bathed in natural sunlight and has an unusual composition. The Impressionist painted two apple trees, putting the one on the right as the main figure. The green and yellow leaves contrast beautifully with the dark areas of blue and brown shadow. Specks of red and yellow fill the treetop, representing the growing fruit. Monet painted this tree with great care and detail. The one on its left is smaller and lighter – having its trunk exceed the limit of the canvas.
The grass was portrayed with loose strokes of green and pink, as well as red and yellow areas of flowers or apples that have fallen from the trees. There are large and dark trees in the far background, with only some leaves in the picture. The sky was painted in a small area of bland blue pigment, without too much change in pigments. Monet also painted Apple Trees Near Vétheuil with a similar theme, during the same year. This series of French landscapes beautifully represent Monet’s modern and Impressionist look on nature of his country.
The urge to paint outdoors was present in many modern painters – or as the French called it, painting en plein air. This was partially influenced by the Oriental culture that was being unraveled in Europe. The Japanese woodcut prints became famous amongst the Impressionist artists, as they would collect and trade these artworks between each other. The work of Hokusai was admired for its simplicity, vibrant color palettes, and for using subjects that opposed the rules of the Classic Academies. The Japanese artists did not have the Classic Greek influences that Europe was accustomed to – therefore they worked with simples themes of the daily life as well as portraying the pure beauty of nature.
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