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Richard Parkes Bonington. (1802-1828). Rouen. (1825). Watercolour.


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Richard Parkes Bonington. (1802-1828). Rouen. (1825). Watercolour.

The talents for the watercolour of Richard Parkes Bonington are immense. Here the format is relatively reduced, however with regard to the details, as much for the ships in the foreground that for the city with the background, the artist proceeds with an extreme meticulousness and a high degree of accuracy. In a letter with Theophilus Thoré dated November 30th, 1861 here this Eugene Delacroix about the watercolours of Bonington declares : “Has my opinion, one can find in other modern artists of qualities of force or exactitude in made higher than those of the paintings of Bonington, but anybody in this modern school, and perhaps front him, 
did not have this lightness in the execution, which, particularly in the watercolour, fact of its works of the diamond species of which the eye is flattered and charmed, independently of any subject and any imitation”.

The point of view of the spectator is located on the ships at the foreground. Then the eye assembles and notices the city, in lower part of the horizon. Guided by the arrows of the churches the glance continues to go up towards the sky which occupies the majority of pictorial space. 

The masts of the 3 boats in the foreground are located on the right tension field on 2 natural points of interest. It is in the same way on the left in bottom for the arrow of one of the 3 churches.

2 thirds of work are devoted to the sky, another third with water, the city and the ships range between the two.

The picture is rather built on the downward diagonal but it gives an impression of rise because of many guiding lines are is horizontal, but especially vertical, the masts of the many boats, even with far, the arrows of the churches, the frontages of the buildings. 

Details : 

The artist represented the details of the architecture of the city with a great meticulousness, which requires of the watercolour a great dexterity. 

Much meticulousness in the representation of the veils, the masts and the ropes of the ships.

Bonington has the direction of the detail, he did not forget to represent the birds which fly over the city. It is this kind of realistic detail which makes the charm of a work. 

Light : 

The natural light of the sun comes from in top on the right

Colors : Harmony between hot colors.

Harmonize between very hot colors, yellow, orange, gilded, maroon…

Similars Paintings : 

Richard Parkes Bonington. Venice Le Grand Canal.(1826).
Clic to see analysis. 

Richard Parkes Bonington. On the Coasts of Picardy. (1826).

Richard Parkes Bonington. Boats near the Shore of Normandy. (1823-24).