Claude Oscar Monet painted Arm Of The Seine Near Vetheuil, in the year 1878 – a year prior to the death of the artist’s wife, Camille. Monet and the Hoschedé family were very close, as Ernest would commission painted panels for his home and portraits of his family. After Monet and Alice Hoschedé became widowed, they agreed to get married and start a new life together in 1892.
As an Impressionist painter, Monet worked en plein air, meaning he painted outside to observe the landscape with the optical effects caused by natural lighting. Although in many occasions Monet would give the finishing touches to the painting in his studio, he found that painting on location was an essential part of his artistic process. The Impressionist and his colleagues were deeply inspired by the colorful Japanese woodcut prints arriving in Europe. Monet had a collection of prints that he would trade amongst other artists – artworks that made his love for nature grow even more. These Oriental artworks didn’t only bring an entirely different aesthetic value but also instigated artists to work with common subjects of the daily life.
The painting Arm Of The Seine Near Vetheuil portrays one of the most painted rivers by the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists; the Seine river. Artists like Pierre Auguste Renoir, Vincent Van Gogh, Gustave Caillebotte, and Edouard Manet have all portrayed the French river in magnificent paintings. In this view of the landscape, Monet highlighted the immensity of the river by placing it in the forefront. His use of natural but vibrant colors also magnitude the high power of nature itself – a theme that is reoccurring throughout the painter’s career.
Although Monet’s brush strokes are loose and playful, his way of painting is very precise and attentive to detail. The light that shines on the clear waters of the Seine are represented in strokes of white paint. Since he most likely started working on location, the vegetation that grows in the water near the banks is visible at the forefront of the canvas. The far background portrays large bushes and tall trees in dark green that reflect onto the water. Behind this bundle of vegetation, a blue area represents the horizon or possibly a mountaintop. The light blue sky is filled with white and violet fluffy clouds, giving the artwork a calm and soothing atmosphere.
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