The Artist’s Garden at Vetheuil
The Artist’s Garden at Vetheuil, by Claude Monet, and A Woody Landscape with a Pool and Figures, by Jacob van Ruisdael, are significant to their respective times and to audiences today. The Artist’s Garden at Vetheuil, which was painted in 1880, and A Woody Landscape with a Pool and Figures, which was painted around 1660, are remarkably similar, although each are from different periods in art. The historical contexts in which both works were created are important in understanding the similarities and differences between the two paintings.
In addition, it is important to study these works in relation to the four “Great Themes”; the self, spirituality, nature and the city. These works symbolize the hardship and criticism the artists were faced with on a daily basis. From the time they were painted, the works symbolize success and an appreciation for all things. This concept is still true today. These specific works were chosen because they are drastically different. There is more of an appreciation for both pieces when one can analyze each with a fresh eye. This cannot happen if the two works have too many similarities.
Monet’s The Artist’s Garden at Vetheuil is a landscape painting from the Impressionism art period. The painting depicts a gravel path lined with grass and sunflowers. A child with a wagon is shown on the path, and further back, a second child with what appears to be an adult can be seen. In the background, a large house can be seen. (National Gallery of Art, 2009) Cool colors were used in this work, such as blues, plums, and greens, as well as warm colors, such as beige and yellow, although the cool colors used are overwhelming, and the warm colors seem to only accent the work.
The shadows and greenery in the foreground, as well as the high horizon, keep the viewer’s eye towards the front of the painting. The house and people pictured in the background do not seem as important as the landscape in the foreground. The painting has a blotchy look to it, like Monet dabbed his paintbrush to make the shapes rather than using strokes. The figures of the child and adult in the background are blotchy-looking while the sky and the house in the background look smooth. This is usual of impressionism art work. As noted before, this work was painted in 1880, during the Impressionism era.
This was a significant time for art. Unknown artists during this period, many of whom are famous today, faced rejection and shame, their work never really appreciated. They came to be against the academic art of the Second Empire. They rejected classical art, favoring instead the modern. All of these artists studied classically, as in they frequently painted human models while in school. These artists broke from tradition and decided to become quintessential “starving artists. ” They painted what they wanted, which was mostly landscapes, train stations, bars, and the like, much to the dismay of the public.
The public displayed many reactions to these paintings, from irony to shock or incomprehension, from admiration to disgust, and even fury. (Romano, 1996) Because Monet’s work is a landscape and not in the classical vein, this work was not typical of its time. As explained, artists during this time rebelled against classical style, and Monet was no different. The bright colors, coupled with a modern concept, is what made this type of art stand out during the Impressionism era. Ruisdael’s A Woody Landscape with a Pool and Figures is another landscape painting. This work was painted during the Baroque art period.
It depicts a rustic scene with small figures and a pool in the foreground. The trees block out most of the horizon, and grass seems almost non-existent, in favor of dirt. A small farmhouse can be seen in the background. (Norton Simon Museum, 2008) Warm colors such as browns and small patches of red are used. The green that is used is not a bright green, but more of a dark tint of green. The only cool color used is the blue for the sky. Overall, the painting is dark, making abundant use of shadow. The painting is shrouded in shadow, with the only reprieve being a sliver of sunlight near the house.
It is obvious from the size of the people that the people are not the focus of the painting, the landscape is the focus. The painting is smooth, not blotchy-looking like Monet’s painting. It is obvious that Ruisdael used longer strokes, creating a smooth effect. The painting looks as though it could have been a photograph; the trees especially seem to be painstakingly detailed. Unlike Impressionist art, this was the style of the Baroque period. This painting is from the Baroque art period, painted around 1660. As Impressionism, this was also an important time in art.
This was a time when, unlike the Impressionism era where everything was set in stone for art, the world was changing fast. This was a time when intensity and grandeur were prominent and were a response to the tumulus world of the time. (Fitzpatrick, 2006) In addition to religion and society’s changes, art was also changing. Gone were the days of classical art. Art was now extravagant and intense, and paintings were more complex. Optimism was the law of the land and a more confident and self-assured style made itself known. (Gardner, 1959) Baroque artists became important influences for the public. (Fitzpatrick, 2006)
Ruisdael’s work was typical of its time. It is a peaceful scene that is intense and dark. It is optimistic of a more peaceful life, without the turmoil that consumed lives during the Baroque period. However, the darkness and the shadows that are prevalent in the painting symbolize the turmoil of the drastic changes that were happening in society. Both paintings have distinct differences. Both works are oil paintings, however, Ruisdael’s painting is oil on panel and Monet’s painting is oil on canvas. Ruisdael’s painting is also much smaller than Monet’s; A Woody Landscape with a Pool and Figures is 36 1/2 by 27 1/2 in.
while The Artist’s Garden at Vetheuil is 59 5/8 by 47 5/8 in. Monet’s painting has light accented with shadow, and Ruisdael’s has shadow accented with light. Ruisdael’s work is more realistic, while Monet’s work tends to lean more toward the whimsical. There are also similarities between the two works, although few. Both are landscape paintings. Both feature houses in the background and have a defined horizon. However, in Monet’s work, the horizon is closer to the top of the painting and in Ruisdael’s work, the horizon is closer to the bottom.
The differences outweigh the similarities, but the similarities are still there. Both of the paintings embody three out of the four “Great Themes”: nature, the self, and spirituality. The paintings embody nature because both are landscapes. The paintings depict nature scenes that are serene and peaceful, a slice of life that is to be cherished and remembered. Because the scenes are peaceful, this evokes the spiritual side of nature. A great creator gave man the peaceful and the serene, such as nature, to let man relax and ponder the great wonders of the world. Nature can be viewed as a wonder to behold.
Not only because there are people in the paintings, but because one looks into one’s self to reflect on beauty and spirituality, this is how the paintings embody the self. Although, because people are depicted in both paintings enjoying the nature and spirituality of it, this is an obvious observation that both of the paintings embody the self. The Artist’s Garden at Vetheuil by Monet and A Woody Landscape with a Pool and Figures by Ruisdael are very different pieces. These works were from different periods of art and were influenced by different times, making each painting unique.
Details such as the colors used and the types of brush strokes adds to each painting’s uniqueness from the other. Audiences of the paintings’ times were certainly affected by the styles of art, whether good or bad, and audiences today are still going into art galleries to appreciate and interpret these paintings. Aspiring artists today still look to these works for inspiration. These works have helped to define art as it is known today; a collage of many different styles to create a magnificent collection of views and ideas. – Fitzpatrick, Anne. (2006) Movements in Art: The Baroque Period.
Mankato, Minnesota: Creative Education. – Gardner, Helen. (1959) Art Through the Ages. Chicago: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc. – National Gallery of Art. (2009) Retrieved 6 Mar 2009. http://www. nga. gov/cgi-bin/pinfo? Object=51906+0+none – Norton Simon Museum. (2008) Retrieved 6 Mar 2009. http://www. nortonsimon. org/collections/browse_artist. php? name=Ruisdael%2C+Jacob+van&resultnum=2 – Romano, Eileen. (1996) The Impressionists: Their Lives, Their World, and Their Paintings. New York: Penguin Studios. “The Artist’s Garden at Vetheuil”. (2009) National Gallery of Art. Retrieved 6 Mar 2009.Sample Essay of BuyEssay.org