Avenue of Chestnut Trees at La Celle-Saint-Cloud Alfred Sisley Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Alfred Sisley is among the few dedicated impressionist painters of his time, rarely would you find him painting anything other than landscape. He was more accustomed to painting the rural landscapes, such as La Celle, which were slowly becoming suburbs in Paris. This particular masterpiece is no different from his other painting.

He used this painting to convey the essence of the natural beauty of the earth as witnessed by the way he painted the trees. It also gives you some serene and tranquillity vibes that one gets when they decide to take in their natural surroundings. Alfred painted this painting en plein air instead of a studio like most traditional painters did because he was intrigued and wanted to get the best of the natural beauty on the canvas. It was also common for impressionist painters to paint in en plein air as a way of standing against the government exhibition ideas. By doing this he was able to capture the transient results of green vegetation and sunlight in a realistic manner. The impressionism style of painting was characterized by using brushstrokes that were broken and exploring the endless ways of using colours. By painting this art piece he was able to influence the Barbizon school to shift their focus on the French Nature landscape.

During his time, the impressionist movement had started to lose its lustre, as many aspired to paint everything in fine detail, but through his works and some of his colleagues such as Pissarro they were able to bring about it is awakening. This idea is brought in by brushstrokes of the foliage and the way light and shade have been depicted. He was able to achieve a good representation of intense colours in this painting by layering the grey and green tone. The hunting trail is illustrated which leading through a forest that has been heavily shaded in close proximity to the village La Celle is also a way of reminiscing the Royal Hunting Forest. The royal nature of the hunting trail is brought in by the deer as part of the subject matter in the painting.

During those times landscape painting was thought to be an inferior genre so one wouldn’t be mistaken when they thought Sisley was actually showing contempt of the way Napoleon III was ruling as he owned this hunting ground that was painted by Sisley. He was also showing his lack of support on how modern ways of living were impacting negatively on the environment. You can also capture the realism technique whereby scientists had realized that there was a striking difference between what the eye and the mind captured. This is why they preferred using soft brush strokes unlike what most artists did during this time. One can definitely see how Camille Corot had influenced him in this painting by the way he was somehow restricted in the use of colour palletes.