Gustave Caillebotte’s Paris Street; Rainy Day offers a unique perspective on the bustling streets of Paris in the 19th century. Unlike typical Impressionist paintings of the era, Caillebotte employs an expanded perspective and bold use of angles. He experiments with tilted vantage points to create an almost photographic snapshot capturing a frozen moment in time.
In his painting, Caillebotte takes advantage of the effect of a camera lens to bulge the points at the center of the image, creating an ever-increasing sense of depth as we move further away from this point. This technique creates an illusion that visitors are swooped into his artwork and onto these busy streets.
Beyond its technical prowess, Paris Street; Rainy Day provides insight into French society during that period. The painting’s muted color palette and pensive mood reflect a world where societal conventions were changing rapidly, and innovation was taking place across all forms of life in France.