Flood in Pontoise (1882) by Camille Pissarro

Flood in Pontoise - Camille Pissarro - 1882

Artwork Information

TitleFlood in Pontoise
ArtistCamille Pissarro
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About Flood in Pontoise

“Flood in Pontoise” is an artwork created by Camille Pissarro in 1882, exemplary of the Impressionism movement, which captures a landscape scene. Executed in oil on canvas, the genre of the work is indeed landscape, and it currently resides within a private collection. Pissarro’s oeuvre is known for its vibrancy, a characteristic trait of Impressionist works, wherein light and color are applied in a way that conveys the transient effects of light on the environment.

The artwork presents a view flooded with water, presumably due to a flood. Water dominates the foreground of the canvas, with its reflective surface hinting at the sky above with an array of subtle colors and brushstrokes that suggest gentle movement. On the bank, a collection of houses sits, rendered in soft, warm tones that contrast with the cooler hues of the water. A muted sky, filled with the overcast light common to Pissarro’s pictures, stretches across the top of the scene. There is an attention to the naturalistic detail of the water’s effect on the landscape and how it enacts a transformation on the usual appearance of this suburban area.

Trees and shrubbery partially submerged by the floodwater break up the expanse of water in the lower part of the painting, drawing attention to the reality and impact of the flood. The presence of figures and the architecture of the buildings suggest human habitation and the relationship between nature and civilization, a recurring theme in many of Pissarro’s works. The Impressionist style is clear in the loose brushwork and the way light is captured, with a sense of immediacy suggesting the capture of a specific moment in time.

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