Pink Peonies, 1873 by Camille Pissarro

Pink Peonies, 1873 by Camille Pissarro
Courtesy of www.diego-velazquez.org

In Pink Peonies, Pissarro has captured the essence of these opulent flowers with inspired, free-flowing strokes of juicy paint. But the paint surface is varied, being thin in places, with the white-primed canvas allowed to show through. Appropriately, the thickest paint is to be found on the blooms, and the eye is drawn to these, painted in impasto with the comma-like strokes that were later to become Pissarro's hallmark. The pale pinks are spiked with modified dashes of yellow, strong blue and vermilion, capturing the translucency of the petals. The leaves, on the other hand, are painted more thinly and broadly, with more concentration on the shape and pattern they make on the picture surface. The treatment of the vase and table is different again, with the paint used wet-in-wet, and broad strokes of a hog-hair brush following the form of the outline. Finally, the plain cream background is found on closer inspection to be a network of surface brushwork, with touches of pink from the peonies and green from the leaves worked into the main colour to help unify the painting.