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.