The Immpressionists at Argenteuil



Argenteuil is a suburban town on the outskirts of Paris. The riverside town lies on the banks of the beloved Seine River, immortalized in many works by Claude Monet and Eugene Boudin. They are just two of the many Impressionist artists inspired by the scenery of Argenteuil. The short seven-mile train trip from Paris also contributed in getting artists to the location. Argenteuil is not different than that of other smaller French cities, yet the contribution Argenteuil made to the evolution of modern French painting sets it apart from neighboring villages.
Monet and Boudin both painted very similar scenes of the small river town. Monet in particular painted a less classical piece than Boudin. Many critics have labeled Monetís Boat Basin at Argeteuil markedly modern because of evidence of industry and progress, steamers, and the likes of a floating bathhouse, which by the way is visible in Boudinís painting too. As if intuitively beginning where Boudin left off, Monet is drawn to a similar turn in the river where all the delights of the suburban setting are set out under a brilliantly rendered sky.
On the account that Monet inherited a lot of style from Boudin through his teachings itís not a surprise that they both were drawn to Argenteuil. Monetís work is displayed beautifully with oil on canvas. The work was completed in the year 1872. A critique of the piece was undoubtedly done with much forethought and care. Emanuel Zola, a critic wrote with much consideration for the artistís intent. Zola states that Monet had and affection for nature that man makes modern. Also that very often he would use a brush heavily laden with paint to give his works a different appearance.
Boat Basin at Argeteuil is subtly divided along two diagonals intersecting at the center of the piece. One diagonal is the tree line from the left and the other is the waterís edge rising from the lower right. The center of the painting, the vertex of the diagonal, is marked with the origin of the strong horizontal. An arched bridge in the background, crossing the Seine River, it only makes the painting more fluid to the audience.
On the other hand Boudinís Seine at Argenteuil is much more classical. Painted five years before Monet went to Argenteuil this is Boudinís only known depiction of the town. It prefigures the impressionists in showing fashionable figures strolling and boating along the Seine.

The younger artists would also adopt Boudinís interest in atmospheric lighting effects and his rapid broken brushwork. I consider Boudinís work more classical than that of Monetís because of the simplicity of the piece. There are very subtle signs of modernity and there is a very simple layout. Well compared to Monetís Boat Basin at Argenteuil it seems empty. There is so much activity in Monetís work that Boudin just did not seem to attempt. The paintings are done during the same time period, the late 19th century.
Boudin is known to see and paint what beauty there is in the sea and sky. Boudinís light and the air of nature, everything that he painted, had vividness that one cannot find elsewhere. The painting itself is very similar to Boat Basin at Argenteuil except its painted in the foreground. Yet there are a few characteristics of Boudinís that force his into a more classical model. There are clusters of people, all in threes. This is much like Da Vinciís The Last Supper, where there are groups of threes, also very classical. The viewer is drawn into the painting much like youíre drawn into Monetís with diagonals. The strong diagonals lead your eyes into the background. In Seine at Argenteuil the background is

nothing more then a small city or town, maybe the city of Argenteuil, and an arched bridge leading into it. Much like the arched bridge, actually just a different interpretation by Boudin.
Overall the by viewing the two pieces and walking among the other pieces of art by these great impressionists I have found in myself a new appreciation for art. Monetís Boat Basin at Argenteuil is by far more appealing to me. I do find less classical pieces more interesting; there is more activity and more disruption. Unlike Boudinís piece which is very