The Fisherman, Low Tide (c.1863; France) by Eugene Boudin

The Fisherman, Low Tide - Eugene Boudin - c.1863; France

Artwork Information

TitleThe Fisherman, Low Tide
ArtistEugene Boudin
Datec.1863; France
Art MovementRealism
Current LocationMusée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen, Rouen, France

About The Fisherman, Low Tide

“The Fisherman, Low Tide,” created circa 1863 by the French artist Eugene Boudin, is an oil painting executed within the Realism art movement. This genre painting is part of the collection of the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen in Rouen, France, and represents a typical theme captured by Boudin, showcasing the interplay between man and the marine environment.

The artwork depicts a coastal scene where the low tide has exposed the wet sand of the shoreline. The central figure, a fisherman, stands in profile to the viewer, gazing out towards the sea. He appears to be dragging a small dinghy or boat, a task that seems both solitary and laborious. Evidently, this is a moment of pause in his activities, where the immense expanse of the sky and sea contrasts with the singular effort of the man.

To the right, beached fishing boats with their sails unfurled rest on the shore, perhaps waiting for the tide to turn to resume their journey on the water. These boats, along with a few scattered individuals around them, add a sense of activity and life to the scene. Despite the evidence of human presence, there is an overwhelming sense of vastness and stillness conveyed through the open sky and the wide stretch of beach.

The palette is subdued yet luminous, with the reflections on the water and the sand capturing the shifting light. Boudin is known for his marine landscapes, and in this painting, he demonstrates a masterful understanding of the natural environment, depicting the transient effects of light and atmosphere with great sensitivity. The artwork ultimately encapsulates the Realist ambition of portraying everyday life and work with honesty and respect for the subject’s dignity.

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