Camille Monet in a Red Cape - by Claude Monet

Whe n Monet moved to Poris in 1859 he was exposed to the work of a wealth of different artists, amongst whom Edouard Manet made an initial and lasting impact. There is a clear debt in many of Monet's early paintings to Manet's work, and through him also to the work of Spanish artists such as Diego Velazquez and Francisco Goya. In 1866 Monet began to experiment with his painting style and adopted that of the aforementioned artists, which is seen to best effect in this painting and another of Camille, Woman in a Green Dress.

In both portraits of Camille, the figure is set against a dark background with heavy use of dark tones against which Camille's flesh softly modelled. In the portrait seen here, Monet has accented the dark, tonal quality into which the figure recedes with the use of brilliant, rich red and white, creating a work of stark contrasts: Camille is in a formal and stiff pose yet he has used fluid, smooth brush strokes; the dog is clearly wriggling about, providing movement against Camille's stillness,