Much of this painting varies from his later work on the same topic, including both the composition itself and also the colour scheme. The majority of his japanese bridge paintings are with the sky completely hidden by overhanging branches, where as here we see at least some elements of it in the top right. There is also a larger part of the water below that is not covered by water lilies. We are further back here, too, with more of the bank in view and also the bridge is a little smaller and less dominant as a result of this. The reflection of the bridge is also strongly performed and completely out of sync with his later interpretations. There is also an underlying tone of red that emerged from right across the canvas, where as other water lily paintings are produced with a bias towards greens and purples.
Artist Monet was obsessed with light and colour, famously putting together Impression, Sunrise, which is the artwork from which the term Impressionism derives. He found several different types of content that he would sit and paint over and over again, learning each time from how the objects would look different, depending on the environment around them. Time of day and seasons would cause the biggest impact, and he essentially created a visual diary of these within his career. His haystacks and water lilies are his best known study pieces, but there was also some other notable iterations around architecture too, such as his studies of the Rouen Cathedral facade. This hard working ethic that he had throughout his lifetime ensures that the artist left behind many hundreds of paintings and drawings from his career, with over two hundred alone completed within his garden in Giverny.
One can suggest that his Japanese Bridge paintings re actually a combination of the two - nature and architecture, and he would have gone to extreme lengths in order to plan the construction of his garden so carefully, with his later art in mind. We see through this series of paintings just how quickly the garden developed after its initial construction, with Monet encouraging nature to take over as much as possible and as quickly as possible so that his work could look as authentic as possible. The garden itself would give him considerable amounts of pleasure for the rest of his days. This earlier version from 1896 provides a significant milestone in how he was thinking at that time, and how the garden would then change in the years to follow.