Sisley's Machine Path

Sisley's Machine Path
Sisley's Machine Path

Alfred Sisley(1839 – 1899) was born in Paris, but his family was of English origin, which is why he spent his entire childhood inGreat Britain. At least until the moment his family went bankrupt and they returned toFrance. By then, a young Sisley joins the circle of friends ofPissarro, who was undoubtedly going to be his greatest reference


Sisley's Machine Road

Like other Impressionist painters, Sisley also left the French capital to paint outdoors, in more natural and rural surroundings. Specifically, he went to the town of Louveciennes, where he made numerous canvases, among them this one en titled the Way of the Machine, which is currently preserved in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.

In almost all of them the influence of the art of Camille Pissarro is very clear. Especially when tracing the different perspectives within a painting or its composition, in which very well-defined elements always appear, be they streets, lines, characters, trees, etc.

In this image he traces a path for us that advances towards the bottom, until it literally disappears behind the horizon line, something thatSisleyreflected in many of his other paintings. It's a road that somehow joins the foreground with the distant background, and of course it's always an effect ofperfect perspective in terms of the idea of ​​depth.

But that feeling is not only being given to us through the straight path of the path, almost perpendicular to the surface of the canvas. It is also reinforcing it with the majestic row of trees, whose diagonal marks the depth even more, apart from assuming a basic compositional element in the conception of the image.

Those same trees manage to endow the scene with dynamism, by proposing an interesting game between their vertical presence, and the shadows they cast horizontally.

And if we look closely, he resorts to another quite common element in Pissarro's works. It is about introducing some small figure of people with whom he manages to humanize the landscape.

However, it must be said that Pissarro is not the only appreciable influence on this work by Sisley. For example, that same resource of small figures humanizing the views is also widely used by another contemporary: Jongkind.

And no doubt during his stay in England he would visit the National Gallery in London, where he was able to see many Dutch landscape paintings, including Hobbema or Ruysdael, with whom clear resemblances can be established. In addition, the construction itself can also be linked to the art of Corot.

In short, Alfred Sisley is not one of the greatest masters ofFrench Impressionism, but he is certainly a very interesting painter with an absorbing capacity forinfluences more than admirable.

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