|Camille Pissaro, Kitchen Garden at L'Hermitage, Pontoise, 1874|
(National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh)
There was an increased interest in leisure gardens in the late 1800's in France. We can see this in Monet's Gladioli( the previous post) which is actually his own garden setup to look like a pleasure garden, Pissaro on the other hand would have detested a garden like Monet's. Pissaro's Kitchen Garden at L'Hermitage, Pontoise, is a working garden with a man in the background plowing the field and two women working, picking up vegetables. Pissaro wanted to depict everything the way they naturally existed in his environment and he did not appreciate the artifice involved in a deliberately setup garden. The Kitchen garden, in the real world, would be practical, useful, and geared towards feeding people.
There is a solidity to Pissaro's composition; his landscape is organized and there is a sense of order to his garden and the range of things. The front of the picture plane is easily comprehendable but he uses the trees behind the field to hide the house. The landscape is divided into three horizontal planes with the garden in the front, the hills and the obscured houses in the middle and the sky on the top of the painting.
While Monet's painting is a series of broken brush strokes, Pissaro uses outlines and solid, flat planes in the Kitchen Garden at L'Hermitage, Pontoise. As a result of the differences in their techniques, Pissaro's painting has a quiet dignity while Monet's painting is a combination of vibrant colors giving it a lively dynamism.
This is yet another perfect example of the Impressionists' depiction of everyday life only instead of individuals from the bourgeois taking their pleasure in a contrived garden, it is hardworking peasants engaged in honest labor.