This landscape is a remarkable pictorial exercise and was certainly painted in the surroundings of the town of Auvers-sur-Oise, close to Paris, where the painter worked during the period of his scholarship. In this work, we can detect the aesthetics of the Barbizon School, a major reference for much of the French naturalism that became triumphant from 1850 onwards and which had in Charles Daubigny one of its greatest and most highly acclaimed practitioners, much admired by the young Silva Porto.
The essential part of this pictorial movement – which was one of the paths for the emancipation of European painting from academic dictates – consisted of painting the work in the open air, directly in front of the subject serving as the theme, and allowing for a naturalistic attention to the different shades and hues of nature at a precise moment of the day. In this way, Silva Porto chose a crepuscular situation that was manifested in the rose-coloured intensity of the sky and the blackness of the vegetation, interrupted by the reflection of the surrounding atmosphere in the bright patch of the river. It is as if silence is the only figure in this nostalgic scene that evokes a natural and untouched world where things coincide with one another, in a soothing elegy. Also to be noted are the different thicknesses of the brushstrokes in the treatment given to the sky and the water, becoming much lighter in the patches of vegetation and enabling our gaze to join together what is near and what is far away, under a green frame. Raquel Henriques da Silva