Claude Oscar Monet visited the city of Varengeville, in the Normandy coast, in 1882. During his visit, the painter made a series of landscape paintings of his surroundings, including Fishermans Cottage At Varengeville and Church At Varengeville Against The Sunset. The painter would work on multiple canvases at the same time, switching from one to another with the change of sunlight.
As an Impressionist, Monet enjoyed working while observing the optical effects of natural sunlight and how the colors and atmosphere of the landscape changes with it. The French painters called this technique of working outside as painting en plein air. Monet was particularly moved by nature and also had a passion for portraying it. Only a year after his trip to Varengeville, the artist moved to the countryside with his family, in a small town named Giverny, where he built a fantastical garden.
The oil painting Fishermans Cottage At Varengeville portrays a very humble life close to nature. This seascape is vibrant and flooded with sunlight. The forefront is filled with vegetation of many colors – with dark tones of blue, green, red, and purple on the shadows, as well as shades of yellow, green, and light blue on the lighter areas. This great bundle of vegetation is topped with pink and red specks, representing blossoming flowers. Behind the plants, a brick house can be partially seen, painted in light shades of pink, blue, violet and orange.
The painter placed the horizon high on the canvas, a typical composition for modern painters at the time. There are several sailboats out on the sea that almost look like glimmers of light on the water. Monet used a beautiful blend of blue, turquoise, and violet in wavy strokes of paint to depicts the soft movement of the ocean. The sky is calm, as the artist carefully blended the white and light blue pigments – different from the rest of the canvas, where Monet used thick layers of paint and expressive brush strokes.
The way the Impressionists saw and depicted nature was partially influenced by their love for Japanese art. These artworks brought subjects of the Japanese artist’s surroundings, their everyday life and their approach to nature. With a contrasting aesthetic appeal than the European art, these woodcut prints portrayed the grandiosity of nature, stylized human figures, and vibrant colors with dark contours, which fascinated modern artists.
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