In the 1870s, Argenteuil offered the ideal escape for Parisians in search of peace and quiet from an increasingly industrialised capital. Sheltered by the hills that stretch from St Denis to Pontoise, the Seine reaches its widest and deepest point at Argenteuil, making the town an ideal place for sailing and taking walks along the banks of the river. Argenteuil’s picturesque location is captivating for artists, especially the variety of ways the light reflects on the water, depending on the season and time of day. However, the town soon became extensively industrialised, with factories replacing the surrounding agricultural fields. The landscape gradually became entrenched in this modern way of life, which was fascinating for the Impressionist painters. In this panoramic view however, Monet abandons such attributes of modern living as sailing boats, floating washhouses and afternoon strollers, in order to immortalise the idyllic and bucolic landscape of days gone by. Painted in the early years of Impressionism, this composition beautifully depicts the serene and tranquil atmosphere of an afternoon along the banks of the Seine.
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