Key Ideas about this Work of Art
- This is an impressionist painting. Impressionism became a popular style of painting in the 1860s. This art style was more focused on color and form than realistic-looking scenes. Impressionist artists aimed to capture the essence of a subject rather than create a lifelike image.
- Camille Pissarro was a Danish-French impressionist painter. He grew up in a Jewish family in the Danish West Indies.
- Pissarro traveled to Rouen, a city in northern France, several times throughout his life. He painted many scenes of bridges there.
- Anti-Semitism was increasing in France in the 1890s. Many conservative people wanted Jewish people to be excluded, and they accused them of oppressing French society. Other impressionist artists, including Edgar Degas and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, avoided Pissarro during that time.
This serene cityscape conceals the turbulent cultural conditions in which Pissarro worked. A French anarchist born in the Danish West Indies to Sephardic Jewish parents of Portuguese descent, he existed within various cultural groups without fully belonging to a single community.
Rising anti-Semitic tensions in France contributed to Pissarro’s alienation, and following local and national incidents in the 1890s, some of his colleagues, notably Degas and Renoir, rejected him due to his Jewish ancestry and politics.
“Despite all these anxieties,” Pissarro wrote in 1898 after encountering an anti-Semitic mob, “I must work at my window as if nothing has happened.”
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