Eugène Boudin (1824 – 1898) is a painter who has become an essential link in French painting towards Impressionism. He was never an Impressionist painter, but he had a huge influence on them, especially onClaude Monet, for whom he was one of the main referents and teacher.
Etretat. Boudin's Aval Cliff
Boudin also took things from his disciple, and without a doubt modified his painting, something that can be seen above all in his last artistic phase, which can be said to begin in 1890, the same year that he painted this oil ofÉtretat. The cliff of Aval which is currently preserved in the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum in Madrid.
That year, the artist, despite his age, was in one of his best moments and had a lot of work. So he went to his nativeNormandyto get inspired and paint his favorite subjects. That is, the sea, the beaches and the ports. And Normandy is home to the spectacular cliffs of Étretat.
Already at that time, this place attracted many travelers and tourists. And of course many artists had also been in front of these incredible rock formations, some of the stature of Delacroix, Courbet or himself. Monet. In addition to the fact that Boudin had known this place for many years and had already painted it, but inthis case introduces a series of different values.
To begin with, Boudin used to incorporate numerous figures into his landscapes, generally small in size and in groups, with which he tried to make the views more dynamic. But this time those elements have disappeared. The cliff, the sea and the sky are the great protagonists. And next to it some small fishing boats and some houses of the town. For that alone, it is already a different work in Boudin's production.
Here he only looks at the natural landscape, but he does not do it in a romantic way, letting himself be carried away by a dramatic spirit in which the waves sculpt and attack the cliff. Neither he nor he does it in an impressionistic way in an effort to capture that precise moment.
He is looking for a beautiful, balanced, attractive sight. It is true that he stops with a lot of criteria in the way of capturing the light, and therefore the atmosphere of that place. But above all he seeks to create a beautiful image with a shared role between the land, the sea and the sky.
The silhouette of the cliff is the first thing that catches the eye, but its imposing presence is offset by the clouds in the sky, and by the usual low horizon in the works of Eugène Boudin. A horizon that clearly marks the separation between all the elements, but at the same time has the ability to be a transition between them.