Analytical Essay on Painting: Influence of Samuel Peploe

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Samuel Peploe

Samuel Peploe was a Scottish impressionist artist born in Edinburgh in the 1800s. He was noted for his still life work and for being a part of a group of four painters called the Scottish colorists.


From 1893 to 1894, Samuel peploe studied at the Scottish academy schools. Studying here influenced his work greatly and began his passion for landscapes and still life, which could be seen throughout his work for his whole artistic career. These motives are still highly influential from the college in the 21st century as many artists leave with the same passions as peploe. For example, this can be seen in....

After 1901 peploe travelled to France. While on his travels he was influenced by bright sunlight, he also experimented with with bold use of colour and was further influenced by rustic realism of french artists. These influences can all be seen in peploe’s “street scene” of a street in France which there is clear use of sunlight and bold use of colour throughout.

Peploe based his artwork on landscapes and still life. From 1914 onwards peploe used much paler colours such as greys and pink. For example, this can be seen in ‘street scene’ as there is pale pink and grey highlights throughout he whole painting especially in the ground.

In 1910, peploe and his wife moved to France which inspired him and he was determined, creating a lot of art after his move. His still-life works show the influence of Manet, with combinations of fluid brushwork, thick impasto and dark backgrounds with strong lighting. This can be seen in the painting ‘a street in Paris’ where there is clear thick impasto brushwork throughout, and strong contrasting tones.

Another influence for peploe was the surrounding artists around him while living in France. He was inspired by the work of the french fauve artists, especially Henri Matisse. He was inspired by his use of colour, which became brighter and more vivid, peploe also began to use similar shapes and bold outlines. For example brighter colours can be seen in ‘street scene’ which overall is a bright, light painting.

Peploe began to take trips to the Scottish Hebrides. He spent a lot of time in Iona, here with fellow Scottish colourists. This influenced his work as he began to work on landscapes that consisted of more beaches and his work also seen much more blue muted tones throughout. For example.......

Peploe was inspired and influenced by french painting, although his work never became overly abstract there were still glimpses shown throughout. It was notable for his strong colour, tight composition and meticulous execution. It was said he was influenced by artists such as de Segonzac, Cézanne, Matisse and Van Gogh. A clear point of comparison between peploe and Van Gogh is through Van Goth’s painting ‘the starry night’ as there are clear thick impasto brush marks in his work with some parts of the canvas coming through, and peploe ‘a street in Paris’ as there has been clear inspiration a king from Van Gogh's work.

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Samuel peploe died in 1935, in Edinburgh. However after his death his son Denis peploe, followed his fathers footsteps in becoming an artist. Throughout Denis’s work there is clearly inspired by his fathers work especially his Iona landscapes he done in the 1920’s. This can see seen through the such similar compositions and colour palettes. There is similar brush work within the two paintings, as there is a clear trace of brushwork and texture within both


The texture of the painting is very rough and is visible to the viewer, peploe has used impasto techniques in the trees as the paint looks very thick on the canvas and looks as if it would be rough to touch. This gives the painting a much more abstract look as although the trees look like they have texture you can still tell it is paint on a canvas which makes the painting much more expressive.

Peploe has used impasto techniques within the trees as there is visible thick paint on the canvas which would have been achieved with a thick brush or palette knife and thick paints to allow the trees to have such a impasto effect. This glimpse of impasto effect is a clear influence from other artists such as Manet and Van Gogh. The impasto creates texture within the painting and is also eye catching within only the trees being painted in this way, it makes them stand out amongst the rest.

Brush work can be seen through the whole painting as peploe has not been discreet about it, especially on the street which helps with the dimension within the painting allowing the viewer to detect the difference from the road to the pavement. The brushwork gives the painting a more expressive look as the process of the painting is clear on the canvas.

The colours throughout the painting are lighter pastel colours opposed to bright in your face colours. Peploe has used baby pinks and blues as highlights in the street and trees which adds dimension to the painting and gives i more form.

Overall the paintings objects do not have much form and look quite flat. The lack of detail and realism makes the painting flat as the sky does not look like it is behind the buildings. Again the buildings look quite flat and lifeless as they do have much dimension lacking the highlights and shadows. This makes the painting look very expressive and unrealistic.

The mood and atmosphere of the painting is very calm, relaxed and soothing. This is from the pastel colours which are contacted with spring, summer and peacefulness which this painting definitely gives off. The mood of the painting is very happy, from things like the flowers at the top, the European look of the actual place which may remind people of Holliday, which generally are connected to happy thoughts.

The system of the painting is expressive. This is by the clear trace of brush marks throughout leaving a really unrealistic look the painting. This is also caused by impasto brush marks and lack of form throughout the painting.

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