I have always found this picture incredibly intriguing and have had many opportunities to consider it since I have a copy on my living room wall at home. The colours of the floor and whitewash of the walls make it incredibly simple to locate within the decorations of a room with parquet floors. The incredible portrayal of light also benefit any space it adorns. Caillebotte has expertly captured the light seeping through the window and its beautiful railings and has also portrayed the muscular labour of the workman as they wield their tools in the search for a better prepared and more aesthetically laid floor.
I also wonder if there isn’t a hint of celebration in the artists portrayal of such physically impressive workers. Their poses hint at more than simply hard, manual labour. The artist’s perspective is looking down upon both their work and their bodies and it’s difficult to separate the two concepts. The play of light and dark; of the brightness of nature shedding light on previously unrealised shadows of its potency; the curled up shards of discarded wood clashing with the straight and parallel lines of the well-laid floor. There are many stories in the scene described here for us, let alone what the world outside from whence the light comes may offer us.
There is innate beauty in the physicality proffered us as much as there may well be a wealth of social awareness and even confession as soon as we, at the invitation of the workers we see in the picture, scratch below the surface.