Claude Monet's Le Basin d'Argenteuil

Essay by QueenKatieCocoaHigh School, 12th gradeA+, April 2004

download word file, 5 pages 3.7

Downloaded 58 times

Claude Monet\'s Le Basin d\'Argenteuil is an impressionistic piece of art painted in 1875. This painting consists of oil on canvas and is approximately 21 ¾\" 29 ¼\" and is currently at the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island. The subject of this piece includes sailboats floating serenely on the Seine River in the Argenteuil Basin between a shrub-like foreground and a background of trees creating a horizon on a gray, almost dreary sky. At first glance, this painting appears emotionless and the mood seems to be one of somber. But, after a short period of time, the viewer senses a mood of vitality portrayed by the sharp, choppy brushstrokes Monet uses and the shimmering reflections of the sailboats on the Seine.

The composition of Le Basin d\'Argenteuil is one of the techniques Monet used to make this piece so exquisite. The organization of the triangular shapes, tall vertical masts, and horizontal clusters of nature and the relationship created amongst these diverse images work wonderfully.

The repetition of the vertical shapes on the river as well as the triangular sail shapes represent a geometric rhythm the viewer can easily identify. On the left side of the painting, a cluster of sailboats with sails not visible are shown floating closest to the viewer, while in the distance, two full-sailed boats are taking advantage of this calm breeze that seems to be whirling amongst the river. In between these large, dominant triangular sails lies a house in the background represented by yet another geometric shape; a square. The asymmetry of the painting makes the scene of this popular recreational activity very realistic and simple in shapes but detailed in brushstrokes which work in harmony.

Lines separate the foreground, middle ground, and background in this piece.