Edouard Manet and Claude Monet, the renowned French artists of the 19th century, both had paintings that focused on Argenteuil, a small French town on the bank of the river Seine. In Manet’s Boating (1874), the artist portrayed two boaters in Argenteuil, a young man and a woman, supposedly Manet’s brother-in-law Rodolphe Leenhoff and an unknown lady. Monet’s The Effect of Autumn in Argenteuil (1873) portrayed the town of Argenteuil as seen from his boat. Manet’s Boating (1874) serves the aim of the realistic painting whereas Monet’s The Effect of Autumn in Argenteuil (1873) serves the aim of the impressionistic painting. This major difference defines the differences in the use of artistic elements by the two painters.
Monet’s biggest intention was to impress. That is why he focused more on colors, light, and how they interacted. He aimed to achieve the effect on the audience through the effect of color especially as he experimented with the depiction of light reflection on the water. In The Effect of Autumn in Argenteuil, he rejected black paint, firm outlines, and created all his shapes out of colors. On the contrary, Manet used a simplified tone scheme of local colors in Boating. Manet’s purpose was to portray a moment in life and convey the controversial social message, which was typical for realists. In particular, he captured the moment of the boating trip of the two supposedly wealthy Parisians and juxtaposed it to the pollution of the river Seine, which he conveyed through the “solid wall of indigo blue.” In his turn, Monet’s captured the eternal – the Nature.
The reality is only evident through Monet’s portrayal of a distant row of small buildings including a church and a factory emitting smoke. In portrayal of this landscape, Monet created the feeling of an idyll, “idyllic petite ville” owing to his focus on the nature, the change of seasons, and on colors ranging from green and purple to pink and orange. Just as the two artists aimed to convey different – Manet the social reality of the moment and Monet the emotional impact of the nature and its eternity – they used the different means to achieve their artistic aims.
- Frascina, Francis, Blake, Nigel, Fer, Briony, Garb, Tamar, and Charles Harrison. “Modernity and Modernism: French Painting in the Nineteenth Century.” Winthrop University. N.d. Web. 11 September 2016.