Artworks and Artists
Behind Bonsecours Market, Montreal
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Behind Bonsecours Market, Montreal,
1866
Raphael, William
oil on canvas
67.5 x 109.6 cm

Interpretation:

Here, the artist creates both a cityscape and a genre scene. Raphael did a fair amount of research in preparation for this work, probably in the hope of rendering not only the details and features of the site but also its lively atmosphere.

Note the rectilinear masses of the buildings and the Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours Chapel, on the left, that counterbalance the view of the Saint Lawrence River and Saint Helen's Island, on the right. Ships are headed upriver to enter the port. In this painting, the architectural elements emphasize the social and cultural diversity of the future metropolis. The two boys in the foreground may represent the second generation, the children of immigrants who would transform the face of the city in the late 19th century.