Musée d'Orsay: Camille Pissarro Route d'Ennery

Camille Pissarro
Route d'Ennery

Route d'Ennery
Camille Pissarro (1830-1903)
Route d'Ennery
Oil on canvas
H. 55; W. 92 cm
© Musée d'Orsay, dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt

Route d'Ennery

The rue de l'Hermitage in Pontoise, where Pissarro and his family lived until 1883, went between the banks of the Oise and the road to Ennery. Here Pissarro turned his back on the large town of Pontoise, as he often did, to immerse himself in the rustic atmosphere of the neighbouring villages which are still there. However the landscapes he described are not without modern developments. In fact, this raised road and the small bridge seen on the left had just been resurfaced. But these improvements blended naturally into the landscape and in no way disturbed its harmony and gentle intimacy.
The horizontal composition stretches out in such a way that the viewer can physically feel the slow pace of the cart and of the people ambling along towards each other. All these peasant figures, some wearing bonnets and long dresses, others in blue jackets and caps, remind us that Courbet and Millet were never far from the painter's thoughts.
In works dedicated to his great grandfather, Joachim Pissarro highlighted the artist's custom of introducing characters moving across his paintings, bringing movement and a dynamic into a world he felt and interpreted as stable. La Route d'Ennery is a marvellous example of this union of movement and permanence, of the strength of the land and the shimmering of nature.
Under its wide band of grey blue sky, this panoramic landscape confirms Théodore Duret's analyses of 1878. The critic defined Pissarro's Impressionisn very early on as being far from a fleeting image: "he sees nature by simplifying it and through its permanent aspects […] Pissarro's paintings vividly communicate a feeling of space and solitude, from which he draws out an impression of melancholy."

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