Camille Pissarro, The Louvre from the Pont Neuf, 1902
Camille Pissarro (1830-1903) was a core member of the Impressionist movement. He had a prolific and diverse career, from his early use of Realism to explorations of Pointillism. He is well known for his five views of the Boulevard Montmartre (Boulevard Montmartre à Paris, in cloudy weather, on a winter morning, in the afternoon, and at night) and for his winter scenes. To me, what makes Pissarro's work stand out is the delicacy of his brush. The brushstrokes are so deliberate and blend so perfectly into the whole, yet remain quite distinct. His tonality is extremely subtle, as is evident in The Louvre from the Pont Neuf. There is a warmth in the clouds, achieved by the small touches of pink that fill out their color. The river looks a chilly grey, but the shifting of the waters still looks inviting. The figures are loosely rendered, with no features discernible, but their feelings and relationship to their surroundings are evident nonetheless. Some are eager to watch the boats passing, other are on a leisurely stroll. The authenticity of these people comes through powerfully. In many ways the painting I have chosen is a conventional Impressionist landscape, with its scene of Paris and prominent view of the Seine, yet Pissarro brings deep warmth and care to his paintings, transforming simple scenes into beautiful and expressive pieces.