Our eyes scan across the surface before seeing the houses and the countryside beyond the houses. It is the vibrant colour of the sloping roofs of the houses that is the subject and draw us into this winter scene. The colours of the roofs range from brown through orange to red. We can see that it is winter as there are no leaves on the trees and the narrow blue strip of the sky at the top of the picture is not as vibrant as in the summer. The vegetation in the foreground and the background display the mixed russet tones of winter and echo the tones used on the roofs.
The houses are at an angle and decreasing in size, creating the impression of depth. Although this picture is a landscape by creating the aspect of depth in the buildings and other items it is different to what we would normally expect to see in a landscape.
Previously Pissarro preferred to use thick layers of paint with a brush and a knife resulting in a fluid palette of colour similarly to Camille Corot. Pissarro and Cézanne worked together from the cottages that are the subject of this painting. It is during this period that Pissarro's style changed to one that Cézanne was using. He changed to using a thicker brush with short strokes to create a stippled effect displaying a more diffused effect.
From a distance the brush strokes no longer being visible allowing the colours to create a harmonious effect with an intensity that brings the picture alive. His preoccupation in displaying the natural tonal effects seen so abundantly in nature is a central theme for impressionist painters. This style and composition are similar to those in many of his pictures.
Pissarro painted several pictures of the same subject from different viewpoints as did Cézanne, however only Pissarro displayed the picture under the title of The Red Roofs in an impressionist exhibition in 1877. The work was well-received especially by an art critic who in 1877 wrote in The Gazette des Lettres, des sciences et des arts: "A pretty painting, a small house hidden in the forest, which impressed us with its strong and simple touch". The Red Roofs was bought by Gustave Caillebotte who changed its name to A Corner of the Village. Gustave left the picture to the Louvre upon his death in 1894. The picture can be viewed today at the Musee d'Orsay.