The Garden of Les Mathurins at Pontoise

12:00 AM

Camille Pissarro, The Garden of Les Mathurins at Pontoise, 1876
Camille Pissarro was a French Impressionist painter. Although he was born on St. Thomas, an island in the US Virgin Islands, he moved the Venezuela at the age of 21. The Garden of Les Mathurins at Pontoise was painted in 1876, while Pissaro was living in France. This painting is primarily a landscape, noted for its definitive division of color. Joachim Pissarro, Camille Pissarro’s great grandson is a curator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. With regard to The Garden of Les Mathurins at Pontoise he stated, “Essentially complex, his work made use of a phenomenal imagination, an unusually rich, innovative visual mind, a vast curiosity about techniques of all sorts, a profound poetic sensitivity, and an unquenchable passion for painting, as well as a strongly defined set of intellectual positions.”

Pissarro had a unique set of interests and talents that are all apparent in The Garden of Les Mathurins at Pontoise, the most interesting of which is his imagination. This scene is breathtaking, the use of color, and the whimsical nature of the subject matter all allow the viewer to be swept into a world of wonder and beauty. The woman who stands in the right half of the painting twirls what seems to be a fan. This is the most captivating part of the composition. The mystery that it creates in the painting kept me sitting in front of it at the Nelson for hours. It could be simply a fan that shows the woman’s status in society, or it could be a ball that symbolizes the mystery of 19th century French life. The circle glows and creates an aura around the woman that is paralleled in the sky, which only adds to the light feeling of the painting.

It seems that at any moment the woman could place the mysterious circle above her head and fly away, leaving all her worries behind. Her feeling of freeness and serenity in the moment of flight would be much like the feeling of calm and relaxation I felt sitting with this work.

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