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The Cathedral of Rouen. The portal, gray weather.
Claude Monet. 1894.
The series of Rouen Cathedrals has no less than twenty-eight views of the western portal at different times of the day. The set is painted between 1892 and 1893 and post-dated 1894. Twenty of these paintings are presented in 1895 at the merchant Durand-Ruel where they arouse the admiration of Degas, Cezanne, Pissarro and Renoir.
In his famous article "Revolution of Cathedral" appeared in the Justice May 20, 1895, Clemenceau thus analyzes the company: "As long as the sun will be on it, there will be as many ways of being of the cathedral of Rouen that man can make divisions in time. The perfect eye would distinguish them all, since they boil down to perceptible vibrations even for our current retina. The precursor Monet's eye is ahead of us and guides us in the visual evolution that makes our perception of the world more penetrating and more subtle. "
This view of the portal of Rouen Cathedral is one of those painted from the Mauquit novelty store at 81 Grand-Pont Street. It is impossible, however, to determine precisely the time of the day chosen; only the variations which the particles of water which saturate the atmosphere bring to the visual perception in foggy weather attract the attention of the artist. The heaviness typical of the Rouen climate puts a veil over the building, rendered in a shades of gray and blue that the orange touch of the dial warms with the only frank note of the composition. It is in this canvas that the vertical lines that animate the architecture arise most clearly: perhaps this is one of the reasons that decide François Depeaux to choose in 1895 for his collection.