Camille Pissarro (1830 - 1903), Rocquencourt, 1871
oil on canvas,
51.5 cm x 76.7 cm
Credits: Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (purchased with support from the BankGiro Loterij, the Mondriaan Fund and the Rembrandt Association, with the additional support of the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, and the VSB Foundation)
Pissarro painted the road to Versailles at the village of Rocquencourt, just outside his home town of Louveciennes. He emphasised the upward slant of the road, making it seem infinitely long. And he used the narrow horizontal shadows of the trees to make it look even wider. In this way, he created the illusion of an enormous expanse.
The painting is a splendid example of Pissarro’s early Impressionism. He tried, for example, to depict the effect of the light striking the road rather than the texture of stones and sand. Look, for example, at the loose, multicoloured brushstrokes and the long blue shadows.