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22 July 2019

the beach at trouville claude monet 1870

Bloomsbury is noticeably emptier as so many people have gone away. And a heatwave is forecast. So, because the Persephone girls are not at the seaside: beach scenes on the Post this week and we can be at the sea in our imagination. First, The Beach at Trouville 1870 by Claude Monet. Someone has written about it well here: ‘The ultimate en-plein-air sketch (embedded in the paint are specks of sand that blew onto the canvas), Monet executed The Beach at Trouville rapidly, and on a small scale, revealing only the scene’s main shapes and colour notes. But in this breezy moment at the seaside is the essence of Impressionism  – a brief moment of sunlight and colour, captured on canvas. Neither figure is paid much attention, their faces are merely noted. Camille Monet, her face shaded by her parasol, looks into the middle distance, seemingly bored – her eye merely a brown triangle in a flesh-coloured face. Madame Boudin, meanwhile, is more ‘correct’. She is dressed in black, with a black umbrella, and all her attention is focused on her book or embroidery. Her tight white collar and general pose suggest self-imposed restraint. In contrast, Camille is dressed in a loose white outfit, and holds aloft a white parasol. She outshines her companion, as well as the uncertain, windy weather.’

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