Created in 1872, Monet painted his first wife Camille. She is seated beneath lilacs and is depicted tranquil and calm.
Sometimes given the title 'Woman Reading', this painting utilises light as it finds its way through the canopy and litters all over Camille's pink dress. It is very typical of Monet to use fashionable, contemporary dresses on his models and Camille is no exception.
Monet pays very careful attention to Camille's face and form and makes sure they are intricately portrayed. The painting depicts the simple domestic life and how it can seem so attractive and fascinating through the eyes of an artist. Camille was posed close to home, in Monet's garden. She has a book placed upon her lap that she is reading with a relaxed, cool exterior.
A very simple scene of domestic life indeed, but the care taken to paint the sunlight upon her dress and shining behind her as well as the important shadows caused by the canopy makes this more than just a private scene.
As always, Monet's power over the light and shadow creates a masterpiece that is fluid and seems almost alive due to how the sunlight dances upon the grass and the gentle breeze flows through the green stems. Influences here from Turner can be clearly seen.
An impressionist, Monet was less concerned with the likeness of the painting to the actual subject, but how he could master brushstrokes and colour in order to portay how the sunlight seeps through gaps in foilage to spill down upon his model.
This is not the first time that Camille has modelled for Monet. She is the muse for many of his paintings and assists him in certain poses of figures. Not only has she helped Monet in his creations but has also posed for painters such as Renoir and Manet.
When Monet moved to Argenteuil in 1871, the village became known for impressionism due to his works. It was during this time that Camille most often worked for Monet, almost all of the female figures that appear in his paintings in the 1860's and '70's feature Camille as a model.
Despite always visiting new places and painting new, inspiring locations, Monet had a connection with Argenteuil that does not seem to be broken. He has painted so many works connected to the location and it is clear that this village was very dear to him.
Springtime went on display just four years after its creation. These paintings that feature Camille became so significant due to the destruction of all pictures of her upon the order of Monet's second wife. Meaning that the paintings that depict Camille are the only lasting thing of her.