Bridge at Caracas, 1854

Washington DC, National Gallery   Watercolor


This watercolor of a stone bridge in Caracas focuses on the carefully described archway in the center. Through the arch, we see the foothills of the mountains beyond. As he does in later pictures of bridges in Rouen, Pissarro shows people on the bridge and others in the valley below, which establish the height of the bridge. The density of the graphite strokes underneath the watercolor, faithfully depicts the solidity and magnitude of the rocky hillsides.

To portray the different facets of the rock, Pissarro uses parallel strokes, most evident on the left side where the color is lighter. They closely resemble the natural layers found in rock and provide a strong contrast to the blocks of stone used to create the arch of the bridge. The skill he displayed in this simple watercolor demonstrates that Pissarro was a highly competent artist long before the birth of Impressionism.




  1. 1 patty lurie March 23, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    loved the painting. I find, working with water color very difficult to do; yes, he had great skill.

  2. 2 Lois Satalof April 3, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Pissarro through Ann Saul’s eyes, is nothing short of wonderful, She really knows him well ! Lois Satalof

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