I was browsing through a small album with paintings from the Musée D’Orsay and fell under the spell of this painting, a Monet showing a field of poppies near Argenteuil. It’s one of several such paintings of Coquelicots (poppies) he did when he lived in Argenteuil in the 1870s, and, from what I’ve seen online, my favorite. I love the way the reddish-orange poppies are suggested in different ways throughout the field, how sometimes they have a red dot in the middle, several times a green one, and at other times just a slice of their overall shape red—and how many are just tiny dabs of orange, sometimes with a speck of red thrown in. Taken individually, only a few of them suggest poppies, and yet taken as a whole the field is clearly one of poppies, with their large yet delicate petals blowing in the wind. The waves of movement in the field are wonderfully suggested by the varying orientation of green and yellow brushstrokes sneaked between the patches with the better-defined coquelicots (a word which, incidentally, points to a rooster’s crow—coquerico—and the similarity between the petals of the flower and a rooster’s crest).
And here’s a detail. (That kid is pretty amazing too!)
I hope you’ve enjoyed this Of Art piece. I plan to write many more in the future, to awaken more of ourselves to the beauty in the fine and decorative arts.
To a happier, healthier life,