Museums and Art

"Claude Monet, working at the edge of the forest", John Singer Sargent - description of the painting


Claude Monet, working at the edge of the forest - John Singer Sargent. 54 × 64.8 cm

The artist, who was extremely close to the impressionists in the style of his work, was not perceived as equal in this environment. However, after his death, the descendants appreciated the skill of Sargent and his unique ability to convey the special mood of the depicted object, and this is one of the most important properties of this direction in painting.

The canvas, which depicts Claude Monet, then a friend of Sargent, captured the artist at the moment when he painted his picture in the open air. This is a classic impressionist image, with characteristic free strokes and a direct combination of bright colors. It creates a feeling of free space, filled with air and warmth on a pleasant summer morning.

The painting depicts two figures. This is Claude Monet himself, sitting to the viewer with his left side, and a female figure is located a little further. The artist is captured at the time of work on the landscape. He is immersed in his work, holding a palette and brushes in his hands. The future picture is located so that it is clearly visible to the audience. Monet sits on a low stool, and the easel is as low as possible, revealing to the viewer the large trees of a green park or country forest in the background. The events of the picture develop on the open edge. It is available in direct sunlight, which becomes clear from the yellowish hue of the grass, which in the dense shade of the trees still retains its rich green color.

The second character of the canvas is a woman in a white, long dress and a golden hat, sitting in the shade of trees. She does something, bowing her head, most likely reading or drowsing under the influence of a bewildering atmosphere. The loosely located folds of her wide skirt lend an image of naturalness and ease. Both figures are depicted quite schematically, with barely outlined strokes, which is very characteristic of impressionism. Portrait similarity is not required, the main thing is to convey the atmosphere of the moment, and this was remarkably successful for Sargent.

The color scheme of the picture is rich and diverse, but devoid of variegation. The white women's dress, the artist’s blue jacket, the yellowish hats of both characters and the rich shades of golden and green that the plants are painted in, combine perfectly with the soft grayish, bluish and lilac shades on the tree trunks. This perfectly conveys the feelings that the artist experienced at the time of creating his painting.


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