Art Moment: Woman and Child in the Garden (Morisot, 1882)

Berthe Morisot, Woman and Child in the Garden at Bougival, 1882. Oil on canvas. 60 x 73 cm. National Museum of Wales, Cardiff.

Berthe Morisot (1841 – 1895) was a student of Corot, who encouraged her interest in the play of light and shadow. Later, she met Manet, and married his brother Eugene in 1874. They bought a house in Bougival on the Siene and she lived there with her husband and daughter Julie.

The motif of the picture is simple – it shows four-year old Julie with her maid enjoying a bright, probably windy day admist the tangled green of grass and foliage. I love this picture for its extraordinary luminousity. I also love Morisot’s brilliant and dashing brushstrokes. Rather than linger on the varied textures of nature, they create flickers of light and flecks of pure color that suggest a vivid sensation of a sunlit moment.

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