Cuno Amiet – Snowy Landscape (1904)

Snowy Landscape, also called Deep Winter

A large painting, measuring more than four square metres, Snowy Landscape by the Swiss painter Cuno Amiet is astonishing for the disproportionately large area given to a range of subtle, delicate whites, which set off the dark patch of a lone skier. The figure looks ridiculously tiny. More than a sumptuous mountain landscape, the artist is perhaps painting a symbolic journey through a blindingly white, silent desert. Is the skier’s path also a moral journey?

Life goes stubbornly on despite the overbearing monumentality of this hostile environment. The thin tracks weaving through the fluffy brushstrokes show that the skier is pushing on, bent on reaching his invisible goal; although it is out of the picture, we doubt neither its existence nor the skier’s ability to reach it. His determination tempers the impression of the man’s fragility in this grandiose landscape.

Cuno Amiet, a member of the Pont-Aven school, a pupil of Hodler and a friend of Giovanni Giacometti and Giovanni Segatini is undeservedly little known. Perhaps because his work was so singular, as is shown by this atypical canvas, on the fringe of contemporary experiments in painting.

It hangs in the Musee D’Orsay, Paris.

 
 

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