Claude Oscar Monet painted Argenteuil, Seen from the Small Arm of the Seine in 1872, as he had recently moved to the village of Argenteuil. This area was semi-rural and near Paris – only eleven kilometers and the artist was able to commute by train. With beautiful landscapes, Monet was able to take advantage of his surroundings to master his craft, immersing himself in his natural surroundings, near the Seine river.
The river’s vast basin in this area made it possible for boaters to commence a series of races along the Seine and Argenteuil became a site for these happenings. Boating became quite fashionable during the first decade of the XIX century, and the small town became full of people wanting to compete and watch the Sunday races. This was perfect for the artist, who sought to portray people interacting with the Seine river landscape, as well as the light’s effects on the scene. The painter's Argenteuil, Seen from the Small Arm of the Seine was concluded about two years prior to the first exhibition organized by the Impressionists, that would ultimately catapult Monet and other modern painters to fame.
Monet and his fellow Impressionists painted on location, or as they called it en plein air, for they urged to capture the effects of sunlight on the landscape and the figures. In part, this was influenced by the Japanese woodcut prints that were arriving in Europe. Artists began to collect these artworks that brought subjects of nature and calmness in unusual compositions and bright colors.The simplicity achieved by artists like was Hokusai admired by modern painters and they gave significant value to their connection to nature.
The oil painting Argenteuil, Seen from the Small Arm of the Seine is one of Monet’s many portrayals of the river. The Impressionist depicts a smaller region of the river, where the banks of both sides are visible. The river banks have ochre colored bushes and vegetation, as well as some green areas more to the background. The left side of the canvas depicts a row of tall brown trees. The sky has different shades of blue and holds many clouds in white, yellow and brown, which reflect on the water, along with the trees and the church seen in the distance.
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