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The Ramparts at Aigues-Mortes, 1867

TheRamparts at Aigues-Mortes, 1867

TheRamparts at Aigues-Mortes, 1867 is an oil canvas painting at theSaint LouisArt Museum highlighting the ancient monuments of19th Century France. This painting vividly illustrates one of themost famous monument of mid-19th century France at its backdrop. Itshows bright blue skies with clouds seemingly much further away fromthe foreground. Closer to the viewer, are the beaches to a waterbody, which seems to be a wide river with a fortified architecturalmasterpiece as the primary centerpiece of the painting.

Thisscene stretches with utmost clarity and delicate precision from arelatively low perspective with a great effect. At the foreground isthe sandy edge of a water body, which must be a river clear of anyvegetation. To the left of the painting shows what is supposedly atown through which this river passes. The river seems to be a maindriver in this town’s economy as one notes the wide vanes of awindmill. The town is far away from the monument in the midforeground opening up to the fortified port town. As such closer tothe viewer on the right hand side of the fore ground there are darkfigures which appear to be boats which depict the river as a mainsource for transportation. The monument, which is the paintings maintheme, shows a fortified port with high walls and observation pillars(St. Louis Museum 1). It must have been a fortification primarilybuilt to fend off aggressors in time of war.

Thisoil canvas painting captures the highly glorious colors, which aretypical to the locality, and evokes in the viewer a sensation as tothe difference in surfaces as vividly described through variouspainting techniques applied by the painter. On the river, there arereflections of the bright and as such, the painter has used theeffects of light on different surfaces to define and express bothmass and form. The artist expertly uses soft brush strokes and hueswell saturated to define clearly waves, reflections of theobservation towers of the high walled fort. The waves are also sovivid represented such that on them are the reflections of the sun.This is perfectly held in perpetuity in a single state of motion,motionless. The fort has a three-dimensional feel to it as the edgesmeet and show a high degree of artistic continuity.

Thefort has a sandy color on its walls, which seem to be over 200 feettall, a structure which in modern terms can only be simply describedas a grandiose monument. Through the foreshortening technique, thepainter has brought the fort, which is in the background. The painteruses this technique to give a vivid description of the huge size ofthe fort. By applying the foreshortening, technique, minarets on theright hand side of the painting are seen clearly but those to theleft of the background show a blurry image extending further on. Thisunderscores the immense size of the structure. As such, the pictorialdepthof this painting illustrates a great conceptualization of theimage in 3D. The feel of this oil canvas painting shows softtextures of the brush strokes taken upon by the painter. Light hasbeen also applied with utmost clarity as hue and depth of color showthe application of light to show a scene, which depicts summertime.


Saint Louis Art Museum. TheRamparts at Aigues-Mortes, 1867.Musum Label, Saint Louis Art Museum