Houses at the Foot of a Cliff (Saint-Valery-sur-Somme) (c.1896 – c.1898) by Edgar Degas

Houses at the Foot of a Cliff (Saint-Valery-sur-Somme) - Edgar Degas - c.1896 - c.1898

Artwork Information

TitleHouses at the Foot of a Cliff (Saint-Valery-sur-Somme)
ArtistEdgar Degas
Datec.1896 - c.1898
Art MovementImpressionism

About Houses at the Foot of a Cliff (Saint-Valery-sur-Somme)

The artwork “Houses at the Foot of a Cliff (Saint-Valery-sur-Somme)” by Edgar Degas dates back to circa 1896 – 1898. It is rendered in oil on canvas, exemplifying the Impressionist movement. The landscape genre of this piece reflects Degas’s experimentation with color and light, departing from his more commonly known studies of human figures and ballet dancers.

Within the artwork itself, there’s a palpable sense of atmosphere and a capturing of a moment in time that is characteristic of Impressionism. The upper part of the composition is dominated by a cliff, topped by buildings that are bathed in a soft, ambient light, suggesting either dawn or dusk. Below, houses with distinct blue slate roofs indicate a residential area. The brushstrokes are loose and expressive, conveying the textures of foliage and architecture without resorting to fine detail. The colors are muted, dominated by earth tones with splashes of green and the blue of the roofs adding a subtle vibrancy to the scene. This serene depiction of urban encroachment at the cliff’s base creates a contrast between the natural world and human habitation, a theme that Impressionists often explored through their focus on light and its effects on the environment.

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