Camille Pissarro came to paint urban scenes late in his career after eye problems prevented him from working outdoors. He rented rooms that afforded him views into the streets of Rouen, Paris, and other cities. He set up many easels to work simultaneously on different canvases as light and weather conditions changed. This is one of 28 views he painted of the Tuileries Gardens from a hotel room in the rue de Rivoli.
What in particular catches your eye when you examine this scene? This sidelong view is dappled with shade and interrupted on all sides of the picture frame. Pissarro’s composition captures the restless activity of the busy city. His quick brushwork seems to mimic the action it depicts. Notice the wheels of the carriages and buggies, where scoured circles of paint trace motion. With the movement of his brush, Pissarro does not simply paint, but reenacts the wheels’ rolling progress.
Camille Pissarro, "Place du Carrousel, Paris," 1900, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Ailsa Mellon Bruce Collection