Does this artwork illustrate a place that you would like to visit? In this painting a wide bridge stretches through misty clouds and over grey, quiescent water. The bridge is laden with traveling horses and people. In the hazy background, dark smoke billows from the silhouette of an industrial skyline. Though this painting is quite beautiful, it depicts a city’s industrial district, a place that is typically not beautiful. Camille Pissarro, the creator of this painting, was a member of a group of artists called the Impressionists. Impressionist painters often painted fleeting moments of upper-class city life. Here, Pissarro captures a moment in time but strays from classical Impressionistic subject matter. Pissarro, unlike his Impressionist contemporaries, was less interested in depicting the life of the middle-class and more interested in illustrating the life of the working class. A political activist, Pissarro sought to glorify the hard-working people of his country.
Though Pissarro often chose different subject matter than his peers, he painted using classical Impressionistic technique. Pissarro used large, visible brushstrokes and soft, pale tones to explore how water, mist, smoke and sky reflect sunlight. The bridge in this painting casts a dark shadow over the glistening water while the light streaming through the mist illuminates the bridge and smoky skyline.
Pissarro worked closely with other artists of his day. He exchanged ideas with Gauguin, Cézanne, and Monet. He took a particular interest in the Neo-Impressionistic style of Signac and began to incorporate color theory and the pointillist technique into his work. Pissarro, always looking to learn and grow, was an important part of the development of modern art.