The Church at Vétheuil
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The Church at Vétheuil Dated 1878
In 1878, troubled by the serious illness of his wife Camille, Monet rented a house at Vétheuil, a small village on the river Seine. Camille died the following year, but Monet remained in Vétheuil until 1881. This is a view taken from the west of the thirteenth-century Romanesque church which dominates the village. It was painted shortly after the Monets arrived. Monet was not attracted to the church because of its picturesque appearance or its architecture, but by the optical effects of light and of weather upon the building at different times of the day. He obsessively pursued this study of light for the remainder of his career, and was to return to the depiction of ecclesiastical façades with his celebrated series of Rouen Cathedral in the early 1890s.

Glossary Open

Façade

The external face of a building, usually referring to the most important, such as that facing the street or containing the main entrance.

Picturesque

A term applied to certain landscape images and garden or architectural designs. The idea became prominent in the 18th century to describe irregular or rough scenes that were deemed worthy to be painted. This includes subjects such as ruined castles or ramshackle cottages.

Romanesque art

The art of Western Europe from the 10th to the 12th centuries. The term is usually associated with architecture of the period with its use of the rounded arch.

Façade, Picturesque, Romanesque art

Details

  • Acc. No. NG 2385
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 65.20 x 55.70 cm (framed: 86.70 x 76.20 x 11.40 cm)
  • Credit Presented by Mrs Isabel M. Traill 1979