Vernon by Claude Monet

En Francais : Vernon par Claude Monet

Histoire de Vernon
"Vernon Church in the Fog" 1894 detail

"View of the Church at Vernon" 1883

Monet, a new comer in Giverny

Monet painted this work during Summer 1883.  He had just settled in Giverny a few weeks before, on April 29.

As if to become familiar with his new environnement, he painted. Monet was fascinated by the riverside, that's why he first crossed the fields of Giverny to go to the Seine bank. He put his easel in Port-Villez on the somehow wild bank of the river. Then he was attracted by the Vernon scenery. Coming from Giverny, he choosed different places going down the river. After a first attempt showing the church through an island's trees, he selected this point of view on the Vernon collegiate church. The shadows are those of the morning. The painter is located in the fields on the right bank.

The chosen motive refers to the numerous views of the church at Vetheuil, painted by Monet in 1879-1880.

"By the River at Vernon" 1883

Monet seems to walk slightly down the river from canvas to canvas. This time, we have a front view of the church. This perspective enables to discover the Bourbon-Penthievre Street that links the church to the river. The house called pavillon Penthievre, that was on the right on the above painting, is now on the left.

The bright colours and contrasted shadows are those of a sunny summer day. Reflections in the water indicate that the wind has gone, as well as the misty blue sky.

"Houses on the Old Bridge at Vernon" 1883

On the other bank of the Seine River

After these views from the opposite bank, Monet decided to take his boat to picture the old mill of Vernon on the same bank as Giverny. But the weather wasn't as fine anymore, judging from the big clouds and the little waves on the river, which probably didn't make his job easy.

According to Daniel Wildenstein, his outside works were soon stopped by the rain.

"Vernon Church in Grey Weather" 1894

Eleven years later

In 1894, Monet came back again. He had changed his way of painting. He systematically applied the serial process.

He was just recovering from an exhausting work on the Rouen Cathedrals.

From this spot one can embrace the monument as well as its reflection on the water. Monet painted this view of Vernon six times

Like the Rouen Cathedrals, each canvas is related to the others. It gives the picture of a unique moment, with its own light and atmosphere, and each of these variations should be portrayed. The interest of the subject disappears in favor of the atmospheric effect in which it is wrapped.

Saint Louis  Vernon
"Vernon Church in the Fog" 1894

Unlike in 1883, Monet seeks now moments when the landscape appears in a strange misty atmosphere, like dawn, sunset, or at night.

The brushstrokes well discernible in the former works have been abandoned in favor of homogenous brushstrokes that bind all things together. All the elements of the painting are given the same value.

"Vernon Church in the Fog" 1894

A view where all details have disappeared, to be compared with the one of 1883, at the top of this page.
The church of Vernon as it appears today from the opposite bank, on a sunny Summer morning. The angle of the roof lets imagine that Monet was slightly nearer the subject. Maybe he painted sitting in his studio-boat tied to a tree ?

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Last Modified :Wednesday, 26-Aug-2009 16:57:30 EDT