Claude Monet, Bathing at La Grenoullére, 1869
La Grenoillere was a popular riverside bathing and boating resort for wealthy Parisian society. Monet painted this picturesque scenery (which is reminiscent of Manet’s work from the early 1860s) in plein-air, or outdoors. Painting outdoors in order to capture the speed and precise light patterns of the sun on an actual subject was popular among Impressionists like Monet, because evoking natural textures and “positivism” (capturing light) was important for progressing towards a more modern sensibility. The scene is idealized, self-referential and autonomous, but it does not necessarily succeed as a modern painting, because it is still sometimes considered to be more decorative than painterly. Although the artist employed painterly effects and attempted to create an illusional landscape, the inconsistencies in style and composition can seem deceptive.