About this artwork

In 1878, troubled by the serious illness of his wife Camille, Monet rented a house at Vétheuil, a small village on the river Seine. Camille died the following year, but Monet remained in Vétheuil until 1881. This is a view taken from the west of the thirteenth-century Romanesque church which dominates the village. It was painted shortly after the Monets arrived. Monet was not attracted to the church because of its picturesque appearance or its architecture, but by the optical effects of light and of weather upon the building at different times of the day. He obsessively pursued this study of light for the remainder of his career, and was to return to the depiction of ecclesiastical façades with his celebrated series of Rouen Cathedral in the early 1890s.

Claude Monet

Claude Monet

Monet is the most famous of the Impressionist artists. His painting 'Impression, Sunrise', shown in Paris in 1874, prompted critics to label him and fellow exhibitors as 'Impressionists'. Monet had moved to Paris from Le Havre, Normandy, where, inspired by Boudin, he painted landscapes in the open air. Encouraged by friends he met in Paris, including Pissarro and Renoir, he continued throughout his long and prolific life to capture in his paintings through the vivid use of colour changing light effects. He was to refine this interest through his 'series' pictures, exploring the same subject at different times of day and year.