Claude Monet

La Lumière


Monet has been described as “the driving force behind Impressionism”. Crucial to the art of the Impressionist painters was the understanding of the effects of light on the local colour of objects, and the effects of the juxtaposition of colours with each other. Monet’s long career as a painter was spent in the pursuit of this aim.

In 1856, his chance meeting with Eugene Boudin, a painter of small beach scenes, opened his eyes to the possibility of plein-air painting. From that time, with a short interruption for military service, he dedicated himself to searching for new and improved methods of painterly expression. To this end, as a young man, he visited the Paris Salon and familiarised himself with the works of older painters, and made friends with other young artists. The five years that he spent at Argenteuil, spending much time on the River Seine in a little floating studio, were formative in his study of the effects of light and reflections. He began to think in terms of colours and shapes rather than scenes and objects. He used bright colours in dabs and dashes and squiggles of paint. Having rejected the academic teachings of Gleyre’s studio, he freed himself from theory, saying “I like to paint as a bird sings.”

In 1877 a series of paintings at St-Lazare Station had Monet looking at smoke and steam and the way that they affected colour and visibility, being sometimes opaque and sometimes translucent. He was to further use this study in the painting of the effects of mist and rain on the landscape. The study of the effects of atmosphere was to evolve into a number of series of paintings in which Monet repeatedly painted the same subject (such as his water lilies series) in different lights, at different hours of the day, and through the changes of weather and season. This process began in the 1880s and continued until the end of his life in 1926.

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Arrivée du train de Normandie, Gare Saint-Lazare, 1877
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Champ de coquelicots dans un creux près de Giverny, 1885
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Étretat, 1864
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Impression, soleil levant, 1872
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La Gare Saint-Lazare, 1877
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La Pointe de la Hève at Low Tide, 1865
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La Seine à Vétheuil, 1881
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Le Bassin aux Nymphéas, 1919
47°00'00.0"N 2°00'00.0"E

Location: France
Movement: Impressionism

Text: Wikipedia

Posted: April 2018
Category: Painting