Camille Pissarro's The Beach
Both Troyon and Pissarro’s large scale works depict provincial French landscapes complete with peasant women and wide reaching skies, however the methods used in the two paintings are disparate enough to bring forward arguments about the inherent modernity in simplifying a landscape.
Pissarro’s scene consists of thick swatches of color applied with a palette knife. The image is divided between a bright green field, a drab rolling hillside, and a massive stormy sky. A line of thin poplars separates the foreground from a horse path that is being traversed by two figures in black, a woman and a small child. Against the hill in the background there are two geometrically rendered farmhouses, both far enough away from the figures that the viewer is unsure if they’ll arrive home before the rain hits.
Speaking of rain, the sky is …show more content…
Pissarro’s palette knife creates sharply defined color fields that differentiate the elements in the image and simplifies them enough to only show mimesis when observed from a distance. For example, aside from the poplars separating the picture plane, there are no fully defined trees in the landscape, similarly the houses on the hillside have been reduced to clear geometric forms.
In The Marsh, 1840, Troyon uses precisely stippled brushstrokes to show how light interacts with various forms in an idyllic and unspecified landscape. The composition is almost overwhelmingly bright. Troyon’s tiny brushstrokes mimic dappled light on the foliage of each and every tree in the composition. No piece of vegetation is spared from illumination. The decision to mirror the blue radiation of the sky on the surface of the marsh further amplifies the brightness of the