Snow at Argenteuil, 1874 - by Claude Monet

Monet was an avid painter of snow and ice, their reflective quality giving the artist great scope for his experiments in the depiction of light and color over time. The great, heavy wet blankets of snow also had a totally transforming effect on the familiar landscapes of Argenteuil, giving on old motif a new facade.

The winter of 1874-75 was an extreme one with plummeting temperatures and heavy snowfall. In this painting, he has taken his view from a spot on a small pathway, between the railway embankment and the Boulevard Saint-Denis, and created an interesting multi-directional composition. The blustery snowstorm drives across the canvas, with the sun barely breaking through the wet sky. He has used soft yellow and brown hues throughout, from the coloring in the sky to the warm exterior of the buildings and the snow itself, giving it great density. The dark tones of the fence and the bowed, bustling figures provide a strong contrast to the delicacy of the rest and give the picture solid form and depth.