Activities: Caillebotte

Detail from Gustave Caillebotte (1848–1894), Banks of a Canal, near Naples, 1872

Detail from Gustave Caillebotte, 'Banks of a Canal, near Naples' (1872)



Take a moment to look at the painting.

  • Describe the way in which the artist has divided the composition.
  • Try and identify the vanishing point and the type of perspective he has used, using visual evidence from the painting to support your answer.



Compare and contrast this work with Corot’s Willows according to the following characteristics:

  • composition
  • perspective
  • depiction of light and shadow
  • atmosphere/mood



Recreate the effect...Tone

Note the strongly cast shadows in this painting. Place an object of your choice on a sheet of white paper and record its cast shadow using a variety of pencils (2B-10B) to create different tones. Rotate a lamp around the object to experiment with the movement and form of the shadows. Repeat the exercise in paint, using a single colour of your choice to create the shadow.

Compose... A Letter Home!

Many nineteenth century artists like Caillebotte, travelled and wrote letters home to their loved ones describing the new places they had visited, and the works that they had begun to create in response to these places. Select one of the landscape works from this resource and imagine you are the artist. Create your own version of it on an A5 sized piece of paper, and write home on the other side, describing the place shown in the image, taking into consideration the setting, mood of the painting, and how you imagine the artist felt as they painted the work.