Monet: Snow Scene at Argenteuil

Snow Scene at Argenteuil (1875) by Claude MonetThe National Gallery, London

An in-painting tour from the National Gallery, London

During a famously snowy winter, Monet was inspired to paint 18 views of the Parisian suburb of Argenteuil where he lived. This is the largest of the series, depicting Monet’s street, the boulevard Saint-Denis.

The road leads to the train station connecting Argenteuil to Paris. He painted this view with the station behind him, looking towards the Seine at the other end of the road.

A cart has carved tracks through the snow. The lines help to give a sense of perspective and depth, leading toward the vanishing point in the centre.

These figures, barely more than daubs of paint, may be people coming to or from the station. Argenteuil was popular with day trippers from the capital, but more so in the summer when people enjoyed boating on the Seine.

Monet sacrifices details in favour of atmosphere. The predominantly monochrome palette of blues and greys conveys the bleakness of an overcast winter's afternoon.

The snow is dotted with colour to denote light and shade, and to give a sense of the snow’s crunchy texture.

The trees are economically painted, made with minimal brushstrokes and warmer tones, such as streaks of red.

The trees on either side of the canvas balance the composition.

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