Lines and Colors art blog

Eye Candy for Today: Pissarro’s Boulevard Montmartre: Mardi Gras

Boulevard Montmartre: Mardi Gras, Camille Pissarro
Boulevard Montmartre: Mardi Gras, Camille Pissarro

Image on WikiArt. Original is in the Armand Hammer Museum at UCLA. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a larger version of this image.

Though different in many ways — a different boulevard, a different season, and certainly a different kind of procession — I couldn’t help but think of this image by Pissaro of one of the grand boulevards of Paris thronged with people, on seeing the enormous rally in Paris on Sunday in defiance of terrorism; and in memory of the murdered cartoonists, journalists and innocent shoppers; and in support of freedom of expression. (See my post on the four cartoonists who were murdered.)

(I’m fortunate to have France24, an English language cable channel of international news from France on my cable selection. The US media glossed over the event — the largest rally in the history of Europe by some estimates — with their usual penchant for ignoring anything outside the US that doesn’t directly involve video of explosions or mayhem.)

This is one of the series of 14 views of the Boulevard Montmartre that Pissarro painted, in different weather conditions and time of day, from the window and balcony of a rented room the late 1800s.

Though this painting is less finished than many of the others in the series, I love the loose, gestural way he has indicated the masses of marchers and spectators, and the wonderful range of subtle colors in the clouds.

For more, see my previous post on Pissarro’s views of the boulevard Montmartre.