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The Majestic Beauty of Rivers Captured in The Metropolitan Museum

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The Majestic Beauty of Rivers Captured in The Metropolitan Museum

The Metropolitan Museum has a wide array of artworks depicting rivers. These artworks come from all over the world and span a wide range of time periods. Rivers have long been an important part of human life, providing a source of water, transportation, and food. They have also been a source of inspiration for artists throughout history. The artworks in The Metropolitan Museum provide a glimpse into how different cultures have viewed and depicted rivers.

Venice: The Rialto

Italian, Venice 1712–1793 Venice / The Met

    Guardi's views of Venice were hugely popular among eighteenth-century visitors to the city.
    However, not all of the paintings were by the artist himself.
    His workshop reproduced compositions and motifs based on his earlier paintings and drawings, while emulators took advantage of the market for the taste he had helped to set.

Steamboats in the Port of Rouen

French, Charlotte Amalie, Saint Thomas 1830–1903 Paris / The Met

    Pissarro was already enraptured by "the beautiful motifs of the quays, which will make famous paintings."
    This is one of several views of the busy port that he painted from the window of his room at the Hôtel de Paris.
    Across the river in the background may be seen the wharves and warehouses of the working-class Saint-Sever district.

View of the Seine

French, Paris 1859–1891 Paris / The Met

    The artist made about seventy oil studies on small wood panels, which he called croquetons.
    These boards were easily transported and held in the hand, making them ideal for painting outdoors.
    This is among the earliest of the studies that Seurat made along the Seine River on the outskirts of Paris.

Allée of Chestnut Trees

British, Paris 1839–1899 Moret-sur-Loing / The Met

    In the 1860's, Sisley met Pissarro, Monet, Bazille, and Renoir, with whom he brought forth the practice of painting directly from nature.
    Sisley enjoyed short-lived but considerable success during the 1870's.
    Sisley painted this view of a curved pathway lined with chestnut trees in full bloom.

Castle by a River

Dutch, Leiden 1596–1656 The Hague / The Met

    The scene of fishermen casting their net in front of a moated fortress catered to a taste for picturesque and ancient architecture.
    Working on the smooth surface of an oak panel allowed Van Goyen to achieve a variety of painterly effects and enliven a limited color palette as he evoked crumbling masonry, rippling water, or cottony clouds.
    Although the artist studied medieval monuments in preparing such scenes, the castle shown here is imaginary, pieced together from both observation and fantasy.


Norwegian, Oslo (Kristiania) 1847–1906 Volendam, The Netherlands / The Met

    Thaulow earned great success with his depictions of the rivers and byways of northern France.
    This canvas shows the village of Picquigny, near Amiens on the river Somme, where the Norwegian painter worked for several weeks in the late autumn of 1899.
    The composition adopts a downward vantage point that emphasizes the eddying water and its ever-changing colors, reflections, and illumination.

Wyoming Valley, Pennsylvania

American, Rossville, New York 1823–1900 Hastings-on-Hudson, New York / The Met

    This is an oil study for Cropsey's monumental "Valley of Wyoming" (66.113).
    The view is from a promontory called Inman's Hill, looking north across the valley, which is intersected by the Susquehanna River.
    In contrast to the large, elaborately detailed canvas, the present work was painted broadly and quickly.

Delaware Water Gap

From 14th Century To 15th Century

From 14th Century To 15th Century

During the 14th and 15th centuries, artists in Europe began to break away from the traditional Gothic style. They began to experiment with new techniques and styles, resulting in a period of great creativity and innovation in the arts. Some of the most famous artworks from this period include the paintings of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, and the sculptures of Donatello. Box with Romance Scenes     This coffret illustrated with scenes from Arthurian and other courtly literature of the M
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From 1819 To 1826

From 1819 To 1826

The 19th century was a time of great change in the world of art. Artists began to experiment with new styles and media, and the art world was forever changed as a result. Some of the most famous artists of the time include Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, and Pablo Picasso. The Falls of Niagara     The painting is of Niagara Falls from the Canadian side.     The painting is based on a vignette of the falls from a map of North America published by Henry S. Tanner in 1822. Heroic Landscape w
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From 1787 To 1800

From 1787 To 1800

The 18th century was a time of great change in the world of art. New styles and genres emerged, and artists began to experiment with new techniques and materials. The art of the 18th century reflected the changing times, and the growing interest in the natural world and the human form. Elizabeth Farren (born about 1759, died 1829), Later Countess of Derby     The Irish actress Elizabeth Farren made her London debut in 1777 and soon became one of the most popular comic performers of the day.  
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