Throwback Thursdays Art – w/ Update!

Throwback Thursdays Art – w/ Update!

Every Thursday, as part of my personal “enriched environment” initiative, I post a piece of art, usually from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which recently released online some 400,000 high-resolution images of its collection.  All artwork will show a sun (or sunlight) somewhere. 

I won’t name the piece or the artist, but instead invite you to study the art and post a comment addressing one or more of these questions:

  • What is going on in this picture?
  • What do you see that makes you say that?
  • What more can you find?

If you have another idea, run with it.

Special Update!  The New York Times website does this same exercise every Monday with a news photo that is uncaptioned and contains no text (click!).  The Times asks viewers the same three questions:

  • What is going on in this picture?
  • What do you see that makes you say that?
  • What more can you find?

However, at the end of the week, the Times posts the background information on the picture.  So, I’ve decided to do the same.  I’ll still post an unlabeled piece of art on Thursday.  But return on Sunday (for the Sunny Sundays post!) and you’ll find an update on the artwork here.

Note:  To embiggen the image, click on it! 



Rue de l’Épicerie, Rouen (Effect of Sunlight)

Artist:  Camille Pissarro (French, Charlotte Amalie, Saint Thomas 1830–1903 Paris)

Date:  1898

Medium:  Oil on canvas

Classification:  Paintings

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 820

By the time of Pissarro’s fourth visit to Rouen in 1898, he was “already familiar with the motifs there.” The artist depicted many of the same cityscapes that he had tackled previously, but also scouted out new scenes, such as this one. On August 19, he wrote to his son Lucien: “Yesterday I found an excellent place from which I can paint the rue de l’Épicerie and even the market, a really interesting one, which takes place every Friday.” Pissarro painted the view three times, but the Metropolitan’s picture is the only one that shows the market in progress.

About The Author: Bruce

6 Comments

  1. Diana
    Reply

    Jeeze – talk about thickly applied paint . And it works !!!

  2. Chris Tempe
    Reply

    It seems you have had other paintings in this series showing crowds in a city and it’s sunny and there are enormous awnings.

    When I look at this painting in a small size, it looks almost pointillist. but as Diana wrote in her comment, when you “embiggen” it you can see the paint is thickly applied. It’s astonishing how such thick slabs of paint are smushed this way and that to produce images of individual people in this market place / town square.

    The “action” of all the people takes place in the lower portion of the painting, and it congeals in the lower central portion. THe middle portion of the picture is just blocks of buildings. And is that the Cathedral of Notre Dame rising up into the sky?

    I’m very impressed by this painting because of the way blobs of paint trick the eye into seeing people and buildings. On the one hand there’s no attempt at realistic depictions. On the other hand my mind interprets this as a busy market scene in Europe.

  3. Tina
    Reply

    In the bottom right corner is a table displaying, I think, wares to be sold, but I can not figure out what they are.

  4. Gabby
    Reply

    Time to get my shopping done.

  5. Carey
    Reply

    In terms of horizontal bands, the middle third of the painting is all light gray colors with touches of darkness, for example the window frames and panes. In the lower third, the light gray is overrun by the dark colors of the people’s clothing. And in the upper third of the painting, you have either blue-tinted white clouds, or the rising steeples of the cathedral, which are darker than the buildings in the middle third of the picture. The upper third is where I see the most contrast.

  6. Carey
    Reply

    I would like to add that in the lower third there’s a kind of triangulation, where the people are forming a triangle that is pointed upward in the center of the painting, as if they are all being funneled into the cathedral in the background —– or maybe they are swarming out of the cathedral and ready to start shopping.

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