Gustave Caillebotte's The Orange Trees

The work chosen for evaluation in this essay is Gustave Caillebotte's 1878 oil on canvas painting titled The Orange Trees, a 61 x 46 work in which two central human figures are positioned in a formal garden in which orange trees are planted in sculpted boxes.The male figure in the foreground is the artist's brother, Marital; he wears a straw hat and purple shoes and is depicted reading a newspaper or magazine, his back to the artist, and his head bent over the reading material. In the background is the artist's cousin, Zoe, who wears a striped dress and red boots and who is bending over one of the boxed orange trees in a very formal garden. Also present in the picture are formal, wrought iron garden chairs and a winding path surrounded by formal plantings.
According to the Museum of Fine Arts of Houston (MFAH) Web site (1), "Capturing the specific light effects of midday, Gustave Caillebotte contrasts the cool colors of shade with the dazzling, flattening effects of direct sunlight."
The painting by Caillebotte employs a diagonal line moving from the lower left side of the canvas as one views it to the upper right side, creating a fairly geometric shape that is nevertheless organic in its flow (a feature made possible by the winding path that moves through the garden, balanced by a patch of brightly colored flowers).The texture is typical of the Impressionists, employing alternating patches of depth and surface paint to create variations in tone and in the interplay of light and shadow.Balance is achieved through an asymmetrical placement of the two human figures and the winding path, juxtaposed against the darker boxed orange trees. The focal point at the foreground of the painting is the artist's seated brother; the focal point in the rear is the artist's standing cousin, but the curving path creates movement from the bottom to the top of the canvas.This curve also emphasize

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