Camille Pissarro’s The Boulevard Montmartre at Night

Camille Pissarro’s The Boulevard Montmartre at Night

In this episode, we’ll be taking a closer look at one of my favourite paintings; The Boulevard Montmartre at Night created in 1897 by Camille Pissarro at the National Gallery, London. Welcome to Art, Culture & Books with me, Anthony King.

As always, I take all the photos and videos myself on location, ensuring you get an up-close and personal view of the fascinating world of art and culture. I’ll be popping in and out with commentary as this video progresses but for now let’s take a close up look.

The Boulevard Montmartre at Night is a significant painting by Camille Pissarro, an eminent figure in the Impressionist movement. Housed in the National Gallery in London, this artwork offers a captivating representation of late 19th-century Parisian urban life.

Pissarro’s painting reflects the core principles of Impressionism, particularly the rendering of light and atmosphere. The composition portrays the Boulevard Montmartre, one of the iconic boulevards in Paris, bathed in the soft, warm glow of gas street lamps. Pissarro’s skilful brushwork captures the play of light and shadow on the wet cobblestone streets, creating an evocative and serene urban scene.

The painting is teeming with activity, featuring pedestrians, horse-drawn carriages, and the distinct tramcar, emblematic of the era’s modernity. Pissarro’s choice to depict this scene at night adds a sense mystique, reinforcing Paris’s nickname as the “City of Lights.”

Pissarro’s keen observation of daily life is evident in the portrayal of a diverse cross-section of society, from well-dressed urbanites to working-class individuals, coexisting within the urban environment. His commitment to depicting the ordinary and his egalitarian perspective are recurring themes in his work.

Pissarro’s influence on the Impressionist movement was substantial. His dedication to capturing the ever-changing quality of light and the essence of daily life set the standard for Impressionist art. “The Boulevard Montmartre at Night” stands as a testament to his mastery of the technique, which is one of a series of 14 paintings by the artist.

The painting serves as an enduring representation of the bygone era through its precise portrayal of urban life and the interplay of light and shadow. With that said … you’ll recognise the street when you visit Paris because much is still the same.