Sunday, October 6, 2013

Claude Monet

Claude Monet was one of the founders of the art movement impressionism.  He was born on November 14, 1840 in Paris.  He did not want to paint in the French traditional style, so he studied under Charles Gleyre in Paris with Renoir, Bazille, and Sisley to take a new approach to art.  

This new style went against the rigid and traditional style that was prominent in France at the time - and, accordingly, did not get positive reviews.  Impressionism stresses brush strokes that show movement, unusual visual angles, and painting ordinary scenes.

Impressionism also emphasizes the importance of “en plein air”, or light.  As a result, many of his paintings are outside in natural sunlight, similar to the sketch below that became "Le déjeuner sur l'herbe" in 1865.

When the Franco-Prussian War commenced in 1870, Monet went to England, avoiding the war. He returned to France in 1871 and lived on the Seine River near Paris.  Here, he painted some of his most famous paintings.  Of these paintings, "La Promenade, la femme à l'ombrelle" is of his first wife and son, Camille and Jean Monet, and was painted in 1875.  

In 1872, he painted “Impression, soleil levant”, which is shown below.  This painting was hung at the first impressionism exhibition in 1874.  In fact, from this painting the term “impressionism” was coined to his revolutionary style of painting.

In 1883, Monet moved to Giverny, Normandy with his two children and second wife.  At his new home, he built an extravagant garden at which many of his last works were painted. His famous series of lily paintings were done at his home in Giverny.  The picture, titled "Nymphéas rouges", was painted in 1917 in his garden in Giverny and is shown below.  

Monet died on December 5, 1926 due to lung cancer and is buried in Giverny.  His paintings and revolutionary way of painting has continued to grow even past his death.  

It is extremely important that this movement happened because impressionist paintings encourage different interpretations of the subject based on different audiences.  It also shows fluidity between the subjects, foreground, and background.  Additionally, the ordinary subject material for impressionism extends the audience base to all people, not just the wealthy as traditional French art allowed.


Cogeval, Guy, Sylvie Patin, and Sylvie Patry. Claude Monet, 1840-1926. Paris: Réunion Des Musées Nationaux, 2010. Print.

"The Unknown Monet: Drawing New Conclusions." Royal Academy of Arts. Web. 06 Oct. 2013.

"Impressionism." Wikipedia.  Wikimedia Foundation, 10 June 2013. Web. 06 Oct. 2013.

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