Transience of nature and modern life: mists and clouds of smoke from steamships, synthesized composition and rapid painting of an ever changing reality.
Ephemeral Apparition: light of the sun represented as a flamboyant orange ball on the horizon, reflected on the shimmering water.
Reflection of the chromatic surface of life: capturing of the superficial beauty under different lights, capturing of the delectation of the moment.
Spatial representation: linear perspective, smaller objects on the backplane and high placed horizon line.
Leading Role of Colour: light colors of the clear and natural light outdoors.
Clarity of the Colour: contrast of pure and strong colors – ton-sur-ton.
Complementary Colours: pop of orange vaguely on the horizon in the blue-grey haze.
Synthesized Shapes: silhouettes (dark boats), open outlines and few brushstrokes.
Spatial Distance: diagonal line of successive boats towards the center of the image.
Counter Light: silhouettes of slightly darker shapes against the brightness of the morning sun.
Main Goal: capturing the fleeting moments of modern life.
In Situ: observation of the light at play (light’s effect on objects and colour), painted outdoors.
Very Little Detail: Everchanging natural spectacle.
Faithful Portrayal of the Morning Atmosphere: blurred appearance of dawn breaking over the sea.
Fascination with Light: study of the light effects on water and of the best way of portraying it.
Study of the Human Perception of the Light: different moments of the day, different perspectives and locations.
Intimate View of the Sea: thorough understanding of the sea’s dynamics (having grown up by the sea).
Sketch-like Quality and Unfinished Appearance: rapid process visible on the final work.
Exposed Work Process: visible sketch under the thin layer of paint.
Painting Technique of Pale ton-sur-ton: breakdown of colors, separately applied to certain points, spots or strokes.
Highly Criticized at the Time: free treatment of shapes, uncommon strong and light colours, considered to be trivial techniques, far from reality.
‘Impressionist’: mocking term, derived from this work’s title, to describe the group of artists that participated alongside Monet (like Renoir and Degas), a term that lingered and led to the movement’s name ‘Impressionism’.
Revolutionary Thinking: capturing of the visual impression – painting what is seen, and not what one knows – beginning of the exploration of expressive properties in the 20th century: colour, light, line and form.
Non-objective Art: dissolution of the traditional form (atmospheric flickering veil, disappearing objects behind it).