Musée d'Orsay: Eugène Boudin The Port of Camaret

Eugène Boudin
The Port of Camaret

The Port of Camaret
Eugène Boudin (1824-1898)
The Port of Camaret
Oil on canvas
H. 55.5; W.89.5 cm
© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Jean-Gilles Berizzi

Port de Camaret [The Port of Camaret]

Boudin went to paint in Camaret in Brittany every year between 1870 and 1873, and subsequently made occasional visits there. He liked to capture the light in the port, its cloudy, shifting atmosphere, fluid and ever-changing. Here, the brightness of the harshly lit houses contrasts with the darkness of the sea and the sailing boats.

Living up to the nickname "King of the Skies", given to him by Corot, Boudin devoted most of his paintings to the sky and clouds. Moreover, he used to make lengthy studies of these elements in pastel, and wrote about them in his notebooks: "To swim in the open sky; to reach the "tenderness" of a cloud. To suspend those background masses, far off in the grey mist …".

The water, barely rippled by the sea breeze, reflects the movement of the sky. The fleeting, floating reflections are suggested through light brushwork in a subtle harmony of greens, blues and greys. Finally, only the presence of the fishermen, silhouetted against the light, provides a counterpoint to the immensity of the sky.

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