John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925)
Oil on canvas
27 1/2 x 38 in. (69.9 x 96.5 cm)
Gift of Mrs. Francis Ormond, 1950 (50.130.15)
As he often did in his images of the brook at Purtud, Italy, Sargent adopted a close vantage point, ignored the horizon, and directed his gaze downward to the shimmering water and the rocks and foliage along its banks. The results are nearly abstract arrangements of form and color. One critic's description of Sargent's technique evokes this composition: "It is astounding to note the almost magical skill by which the swift touches of his brush build up and express the infinite varieties of the surfaces and substances which he was painting."