Visual Analysis Essay

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Topic: Garden at Sainte-Adresse Visual Analysis

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Gallery 818
Artist: Claude Monet
Date: 1867
Medium: Oil on canvas

Claude Monet, a French impressionist artist, painted the Garden at Sainte-Adresse in 1867 at the resort town of Sainte-Adresse, near Le Havre, France. 1 In this oil, on canvas painting, Monet painted a summer scene where four people can be seen relaxing in a terrace garden overlooking the sea on a bright sunny day. When taking a glimpse of the painting, the viewer's attention is drawn first to the women in luminous white dress surrounded by a garden blooming with flowers. At the foreground, Monet's father can be seen seated in a chair, next to a woman holding a white parasol overlooking the steamships carrying goods. When viewing this painting for the first time, it evokes a warm and calm summer feeling as if the viewers are standing in the terrace looking through the eyes of the painter. Monet evoked this feeling through the use of form and technique that captured the essence of the painting.

Monet was able to capture this moment in time through the use of pure complementary colors that captures the effects of sunlight. When examining the painting from left to right, you can notice the shift in the color value of the flowers as the effects of the sun intensifies. Small strokes of bright red and yellow pigments against large areas of flat color illustrates the brilliant color contrasts of the flowers. On the other hand, by utilizing highly saturated colors for the four main subjects of the painting it captures the viewer's attention, like the bright white dress and the white parasol. For the sea and sky, Monet chose blue hue varying in value and saturation in relation to sunlight intensity which captures the time of the day. Through this sophisticated use of color, it takes one glance at the flags, flowers, sky and sea to be engaged in the immediate moment, as if it was just the moment when the painter painted the image.

Furthermore, Monet was able to capture the effect of sunlight on the subjects through the use of short brushstrokes. For instance, when looking at the garden, one can notice the flowers depicted as dabs of pure paint using primary hues. In doing so, he captures the essence of the 1 (Met, The Met n.d.) 4 Mahin objects rather than the subject’s details, like the bright, vibrant colors radiating from the flowers. Similarly, he used short brush strokes for painting the water waves, which not only created the illusion of movement but shows the effects of light on the water. Monet by placing focus on light and color using short brushstrokes, as opposed to line and shape is able to capture this specific moment that he is viewing. This allows the audience to experience this view through a whole new lens instead of the proverbial lens.

Aside from these techniques, Monet also used perspective to create an illusion of space. Monet by painting from an elevated vantage point with discernable horizontal zones emphasizes the two-dimensionality of the painting. 2 By adopting this elevated viewpoint and painting the terrace, sea, and sky as three distinct horizontal color bands, Monet creates a sense of space by making the eye move actively from one tilted horizontal plane—the terrace garden—to the next. Since these three distinct zones rise parallel to the picture plane instead of receding into space. In addition to painting from an elevated perspective, Monet also used atmospheric perspective in the painting to give the illusion of depth. For instance, when examining the ships in the painting, you can notice that the ships start to lose their original color saturation and take on the atmospheric color. This combination of illusion and two-dimensionality of the surface gives the viewers the full effect of seeing this scenery for the first time as when Monet first experienced it.

Monet in painting the Garden at Sainte-Adresse was able to show the effects of light on its subject. By using specific colors and different brushstrokes, he was able to emphasize the effects of light on the flowers, people, concrete pavement flags, the sea and the sky. While utilizing perspective in the painting, Monet was able to create the illusion of space that enables viewers to experience the scenery from his viewpoint. Monet by using these techniques and form 5 Mahin throughout the painting allows the viewers to experience the landscape through his eyes at that particular moment. And, leaves the viewers in a state of trance in perpetual longing.


6 Mahin Met, The. n.d. The Met. Accessed 9 12, 2019. TAL. 2009. Art Hints. 11 1. Accessed 9 12, 2019. perspective/. Wolf, Justin. n.d. The Art Story. Accessed 9 12, 2019.

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