A View of the Roman Countryside, an oil painting produced by Jean-Achille Benouville in 1848, can be currently viewed at the Museum of Fine Arts in Huston. The painting illustrates the peaceful countryside on a cloudless sunny day. The central element is nature, although some minor details such as animals and people can, likewise, be viewed. In A View of the Roman Countryside, Jean-Achille Benouville uses pastel shades, quiet colors and free lines to convey the feeling of tranquility and harmony that prevails in the depicted atmosphere.
The painting is in good condition even though it was produced more than a century ago. There are no fragments that would be spoiled or destroyed by the time. In the meantime, it is possible to assume that the colors have shaded significantly and that initially, the general palette was brighter.
Jean-Achille Benouville employs a subdued and restrained color array that contributes to the impression of tranquility and peace. Broadly speaking, there are only two colors that the artist uses in his work: blue and green. Thus, the general palette is very natural; there are no artificial shades or tints that would contradict with the genuine beauty of the rural environment.
The prevailing color is green – the major part of the painting illustrates the field along with the grass and the bushes that cover it. The dominance of green has a powerful soothing effect on the viewer.
It is also critical to note that the artist prefers warm tints in his work. Thus, even the blue color, which is also abundant is employed in the combination with a warm tint of pink. Pink shades might also be found in the depiction of the mountains and the fog in the background of the painting. The presence of pink tints creates an effect of idleness and sleepiness. The viewer is likely to receive the impression that the painting depicts an early morning when the sun has not completely risen and a thin mist fills up the entire space.
Line, Shape, and Form
Jean-Achille Benouville uses free lines and flowing forms to convey the natural image of the depicted area. Thus, the viewer might observe distinct lines only when looking at the supplementary elements that exist in the painting: the person, the calves, and the ruins. The rest of the painting is rather blurred – the shapes flow one into another so that it is impossible to distinguish the contours of a bush or to identify the beginning and the end of the road. While painting the mountains the artist, likewise, avoids distinct lines and oblique angles – the depicted mountains are covered by thick fog so that the viewer receives only a vague hint at their presence.
It is essential to point out the vivid difference in the author’s technique – the nature is painted in soft lines that do not argue one with another, whereas all the other objects are illustrated very distinctly. Hence, a viewer might notice two images: the nature harmonious in its unity and the live creatures that look slightly alien in this environment.
The way the artist organizes space in the painting reflects the general idea of conveying the feeling of tranquility and harmony. Thus, the central part of A View of the Roman Countryside represents an open space that is now overfilled with odd elements or objects. The viewer is likely to feel the sense of freedom and eternity looking at the illimitable space of the depicted field that is smoothly changed by the sky.
In the meantime, it is necessary to note that space is organized differently in the foreground and the background of the painting. Thus, the foreground is thickly filled with calves and bushes whereas the background is free of any details.
Materials and Methods
A View of the Roman Countryside is an oil painting that is a typical choice preference in the relevant period. It is essential to admit that the painting benefits significantly from the preference in favor of oil rather than watercolor. Hence, the depicted images enhance the meaningfulness and obtain some profound implications. As a skillful landscape painter, Jean-Achille Benouville employs special techniques that help him draw the viewers’ attention to particular parts of the painting. Thus, the field in the background is intentionally more lightened than the rest of the landscape – the artist uses the play of color to highlight the desired areas. Moreover, he employs an excessive blacking of a particular part of the painting – the water and the bushes. The method of intentional blacking of some areas of paintings is not ultimately Benouville’s – many of his predecessors would widely employ this technique, it even became a distinguishing feature for such artists as Reynolds.
The methods and techniques that the artist employs in A View of the Roman Countryside assist him in conveying the central image of a peaceful and calm rural countryside. The smooth colors and the flowing lines create an expression of a quiet landscape that is free from the hustle and the bustle of the city. Moreover, looking at the painting, the viewer is sure to recognize the “old-school” traditions of the European masters. Although the author depicts the minimum of details, it takes the viewers a long time to discern all the elements that are spread within the painting.
A View of the Roman Countryside exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts in Huston represents a fine example of the painting of the Italian School of the end of the nineteenth century. The artist decided to choose material in favor of oil that helped him create a more soothing and gentle image than watercolors. The piece of art is in good condition, the depicted images are viewed, even though the colors might have shaded within the time.
The techniques and the methods that Jean-Achille Benouville uses are aimed at creating the image of a peaceful land and its natural beauty. Thus, the variety of colors is not very wide, though numerous warm shades do not contradict one another. The lines and shapes are, likewise, smooth and flowing – the viewer can hardly distinguish the contours of the depicted elements. Space is not overloaded with details; it is the sky and the field that draws the viewer’s attention.
The key benefit of this piece of art resides in the harmony of the employed colors and the depicted landscape. As a result, the viewer receives the general impression of tranquility and peace looking at this work of art.
“Jean-Achille Benouville A View of the Roman Countryside ” n.d. JPEG file. Web.