A Cowherd on the Route de Chou, Pontoise (1874) by Camille Pissarro

A Cowherd on the Route de Chou, Pontoise - Camille Pissarro - 1874

Artwork Information

TitleA Cowherd on the Route de Chou, Pontoise
ArtistCamille Pissarro
Dimensions54.9 x 92.1 cm
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationMetropolitan Museum of Art (Met), New York City, NY, US

About A Cowherd on the Route de Chou, Pontoise

The artwork “A Cowherd on the Route de Chou, Pontoise” is an oil on canvas painting by the esteemed Impressionist artist Camille Pissarro, created in 1874. With dimensions of 54.9 by 92.1 cm, this genre painting exemplifies the Impressionist movement’s predilection for capturing the ephemeral qualities of light and the beauty found in everyday scenes. Currently part of the collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, this work is a testament to Pissarro’s skillful brushwork and his dedication to portraying rural life.

The artwork illustrates a serene rural setting during what appears to be late spring or summer. It features a vast expanse of greenery under a bright blue sky dotted with fluffy clouds. A cowherd stands prominently on the left side of the composition, near the painting’s foreground, tending to a brown and white cow. Both are positioned along a winding dirt path—the Route de Chou—that draws the viewer’s eye through the landscape.

Further back, a horse-drawn cart travels along the road, offering a sense of daily activity and travel in the countryside. The terrain is undulating with hills that are adorned with different shades of green, suggesting various crops or grasses. A smattering of trees punctuates the horizon, their vertical forms contrasting with the horizontal layering of the fields. The distant houses nestled within the landscape add a sense of human presence and rural habitation, while not overpowering the natural beauty of the scene.

Pissarro’s brushwork conveys the vitality and lushness of the landscape with a mosaic of color and light. He achieves a dynamic surface texture that is characteristic of Impressionist painting, which often sought to reflect the immediate visual impression of a scene rather than a detailed, exact representation. The composition as a whole evokes a tranquil atmosphere and reflects the harmonious coexistence of humans with the pastoral world—a recurring theme in Pissarro’s oeuvre.

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