Ile de la Cite (1890 – 1900) by Henri Rousseau

Ile de la Cite - Henri Rousseau - 1890 - 1900

Artwork Information

TitleIle de la Cite
ArtistHenri Rousseau
Date1890 - 1900
Art MovementPost-Impressionism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About Ile de la Cite

The artwork titled “Ile de la Cite” was created by the French Post-Impressionist painter Henri Rousseau sometime between 1890 and 1900. Rousseau, often known as Le Douanier, painted this cityscape with oil on canvas. Though he had no formal art education and was often ridiculed by critics, Rousseau’s work has since been celebrated for its naive charm and has influenced many avant-garde artists. “Ile de la Cite” is held in a private collection and showcases Rousseau’s unique interpretation of urban landscapes during the Post-Impressionist period.

Examining the artwork, one observes a serene representation of the Ile de la Cite, a natural island in the Seine River at the heart of Paris, which has long been the nucleus of the city. Situated amid lush, leafy trees that dominate the composition, the architecture of Paris emerges from between the foliage. At the center of the work, a recognizable steep spire, possibly that of the famous Notre-Dame Cathedral, pierces the skyline, lending a sense of placement and history to the scene.

Contrasting shades of green denote various types of vegetation, perhaps marking the change of seasons with hints of autumnal coloration among the mostly verdant display. In the foreground, figures rendered with minimal detail, presumably Parisians, promenade along the quay, reinforcing the urban element of the otherwise bucolic scene. The light and shadow playing on the structures and the path suggest a bright, clear day, as soft clouds punctuate the expansive blue sky, contributing to the overall tranquil and picturesque quality of the cityscape.

The artwork reflects Rousseau’s approach to painting, which often involved a rich and vivid use of color and a personal, imaginative interpretation of his subject matter. His distinctive style, noticeable in the treatment of the trees and the slightly flattened perspective, overtly distinguishes “Ile de la Cite” from the works of his contemporaries, making it a noteworthy piece within the context of Post-Impressionism.

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