Monet tackled the great challenge of a snow-covered landscape, which Courbet had grandly explored with great success not long before. Toning down Courbet's lyricism, Monet preferred a frail magpie perched on a gate, like a note on a staff of music, to the world of the forest and hunting. Sun and shade construct the painting and translate the impalpable part-solid part-liquid matter. The Impressionist landscape was born, five years before the first official exhibition when the movement was given its name.
1868-1869, Musée d'Orsay