The Life and Art of Claude Monet
Claude Oscar Monet was born on November 14, 1840 in Paris, France and died at the age of 86 on December 5, 1926 in Giverny, France. Claude was the oldest son of his family and became very fond of nature beginning at a very young age (“Claude Monet Biography”, Biography.com). His first encounter with nature was when he spent his youth roaming the beaches and observing his surroundings after moving to Le Havre, Normandy for his father to start a grocery store business. Monet’s father, Claude Adolphe Monet, wanted him to take over the grocery store one day but Monet always had an eye for art and creativity. Monet’s childhood was not the greatest and had many challenges he had to hurdle through. Monet’s mother, Louise Justine Aubree Monet, died when Claude was only sixteen years old and dropped out of his school, a secondary school of the arts in his hometown. He also moved to live with Marie-Jeanne Lecadre, Monet’s aunt (“Biography of Claude Oscar Monet”, Claudemonetgallery.org).
Monet first start out as an artist when he was fifteen years old when created caricatures. His official career did not really start until he met Eugene Boudin where he was introduced to the true nature of painting. In 1859 to 1860, he visited Paris and became known to Charles Daubigny and Constant Troyon and their paintings. However, with all the inspiration to pursue an art career, he took a toll in 1861 to 1862 when he needed to serve in the military in Algeria. During his time in the service, he became inspired to visit Morocco after his service in 1832 (“Claude Monet French Painter” by William C. Seitz, Britannica.com). After returning to his childhood hometown, Le Havre, Normandy, Monet met Johan Barthold Jongkind and then began studying in Paris again. Monet’s study at the National School of Fine Art and Academie Suisse was where he found himself as an artist and became inspired to paint.
In his academic life, he was full of spirit to learn about the importance of art. Monet studied at Academie Suisse and became friends with Camille Pissarro, a large influencer on the Impressionism movement of art (“Claude Monet French Painter” by Kathleen Adler, Britannica.com). However, at Academe Suisse, he did not find himself as an artist so he began to develop his art career on his own. With the new colors introduced at the time, it became easy for him to soon become a key painter during the Impressionist movement (“Claude Monet Biography”, Claude-Monet.com). Around the time when Monet left his school, he also became aware of Japanese prints. The discovery of Japanese prints were important to his art career because it was a large influence on French artists (“Claude Monet French Painter” by William C. Seitz).
Claude Monet is famous because he was one of the first artists to be part of the Impressionist movement (“Claude Monet Biography”, Biography.com). Monet, in a way, invented a new style of art and used the new techniques to further the world of art. He was one the first Impressionist who paved the way for other artists to bring life to new artistic movements that stray away from the traditions of art work before. In the beginning of his art career, he did not receive much satisfactory responses toward his works but after many years of painting and perseverance, his works became known and indefinitely remembered. For example, Monet’s Water Lilies collection of oil paintings featuring water lilies were brought into the art world after the connection toward Van Gogh’s Sunflower paintings. The floral and nature theme of the paintings is what began the fame of the Water Lilies (“Why are Monet’s water-lilies so popular” by Alastair Smart).
Impressionism is the technique in which artists created their pieces of art in a different perspective and using color to illustrate the world around them (“How Monet and the Impressionists Paved the Way for Modern Art” by Alison Chang). Monet’s paintings had many qualities of Japanese prints as he portrayed some aspects of the Japanese culture in his works. Like his Camille Monet in Japanese Costume where Claude’s wife was shown wearing a beautiful kimono and Japanese fans in the background.
Artists like Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley, berthe Morisot, and many more were changed the history of art by straying away from the traditional artworks during that time (“How Impressionism Changed the Art World and Continues to Inspire Us Today” by Kelly Richman-Abdou). Impressionists used a lot of color and paint to create the texture of the art piece portrays. They do not mix the paint colors they desire but instead, use the brush to create the color as they are painting and it creates a different effect on the painting in the end.
Impressionism started during the 1860s in Europe but then was beginning to spread throughout the United States. Impressionists were important because they concentrated on the importance of reality and portraying the real world instead of a world of perfection using non traditional techniques of light and color to create an effect that would soon still affect the art world today (“Impressionism” by The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica). These artists strayed away from the techniques they were used to seeing and introduced the world to a new type of art and creativity.
The art world has used the inspiration of impressionism to begin new movements that would influence present day artists. Impressionism inspired “the Symbolism, Fauvism, and Cubism” (“How Monet and the Impressionists Paved the Way for Modern Art” by Alison Chang) movements of art history and showed that there are no limits to art. During the post-impressionism movement, artists began to come out and try new techniques, styles, colors, and etc. Post Impressionism began in the 1880s and soon it led to the path of modern art. Yet both led to different types of art, impressionism and post-impressionism both largely impacted the art world with the introduction of new techniques, materials, ideas, and perspectives.
The Water Lilies is a thirty-three series of paintings painted by Claude Monet. These paintings were created at different times from 1897-1926 and each are oil paintings. Some of Monet’s Water Lily pieces names are: Water Lilies and Japanese Bridge (1897-1899), Pond with Water Lilies (1907), Sea-Roses (1916), Blue Water Lilies (1916-1919), and many more. In this essay, I will be focusing on Monet’s Water-Lily Pond and Weeping Willow painted from 1916 to 1919. In this oil painting, you can see a pond with some water lilies laying on top. There are a lot of trees surround the pond. The foreground seems to be the pond, the middle ground is many water lilies, and the background seems to be many trees dangling down over the pond. There is a lot of texture to the painting because the paint used seems very thick and rich.
I think the collection shows that there is an emphasis on the water lilies and the titles help to show that there is a focal point of the painting. The movement of painting shows that the pond continues to go; sort of like it is infinite and there is no end. In my opinion, I do not see much balance in the painting because there is so much green colored objects and the color of green seems a bit overused. The repetition of the green shows the true nature of what Monet was trying to portray. However, the limited color selection of this painting brings out the brightly colored water lilies.
The mood of the painting is very calming and soothing. It seems very peaceful and it brings a very relaxing mindset when viewing the painting. I think the symbol of this painting is the focal point of the whole collection: the water lilies. The water lilies symbolize something that is very easy going and shows a very simple living thing in nature that represents so much calmness. I think Monet was trying to show what he sees and that he wants his audience to see the smaller things in life because they are truly beautiful. The water lily shows up in all the paintings he has painted in this series but all is shown in a different way; some are the main focal point, but others are smaller and in the background.
This artwork is successful according to imitationalism and literal qualities because Monet uses the realistic aspects of the world he sees and portrays it into his paintings. It imitates the reality of what he is seeing with his own eyes. I also think it is successful because he creates a collection of paintings that circulate around the water lily. The water lily is a very simple but meaningful object that people see. Also, when reading about more about this series he has created, I found it very meaningful that he had spent so much time observing the water lilies. He captured a perspective of the water lily that he sees. I think Monet’s paintings are successful because he takes the reality of what he sees; he does not change the perspective to please the audience.
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- Smart, Alastair. Why Are Monet’s Water-Lilies so Popular? The Telegraph, Telegraph Media Group, 18 Oct. 2014, www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/art-features/11167000/Why-are-Monets-water-lilies-so-popular.html.
Influences on Impressionism (claude Monet’s Charing Cross Bridge)
Impressionism plays a critical part in the nineteenth century’s changing representation of the painting scene. At the hands of Pierre Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro, Claude Monet, and others, this original movement (not called Impressionism until the late 1800’s) was initially rejected by many and later embraced by society. Through the dense London haze, we see Monet’s vision, the Charing Cross railway bridge, where a plume of smoke signals the passing of a train and the ghostliest outline of the home of Parliament emerges from the fog. This examination of bright and atmospheric variations increasingly affirms itself as the leading principle in Monet’s paintings in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. In London, he concentrated especially on describing confusion and the way the effects of light shine through it. Monet’s artwork, Charing Cross Bridge, brouillard, 1902, reveals both the influences and the challenges of the past as well as revealing how impressionism represented the turning point in the process of contemporary art. Monet as well as other artists were influenced by many factors, including social and cultural events that were taking place at the time.
Impressionism is the nineteenth century art movement characterized by comparatively small and slender, yet obvious brushstrokes, wide composition, emphasis on the portrayal of light and its changing tones, ordinary subject matter, inclusion of change as a critical component of human knowledge and experience, and strange visual angles. The impressionist movement was the rejection of conventional artistic techniques. With Impressionism, the aim was to portray colours and pictures the way they were seen, not the way the artists were instructed to create them. Aspects of impressionism include the use of gleaming spots of lighting, colour in shadow and dissolving strong outlines. Instead of painting in a studio, the Impressionists found that they could quickly capture the momentary effects by working in front of their subjects.
Claude Monet, one of the pioneers of impressionism, was told to have been hit by London’s ever-changing conditions when he visited the island assets in 1870. He was particularly drawn the city’s combination of confusing fog, pollution and lights. Monet was intrigued by the London fog and the effects it had on how people saw things. Over several years Monet traveled to London to paint a series of paintings, thirty-seven in total, of Charing Cross Bridge. Painting quickly and often from different angles, each one slightly different than the other. Along with the constant fog, pollution played a large role in how objects were perceived. With the Industrial Revolution in full gear, the pollution along with the regular fog created an always changing scene for Monet. In his painting you can feel how the fog and pollution blanketed the landscape and only suggest the overall image.
Impressionism was not always accepted by society. People had predetermined ideas of what art/paintings should look like. The movement arose with a set of Paris based artists in the 1870’s and 1880’s. Monet, and others, works were often rejected at the conservative Salon de Paris. Monet’s painting of Charred Cross Bridge, brouillard, 1902, appeared unfinished and rushed. Unlike his predecessors that provided images with smooth strokes and plenty of detail. His painting lacked the qualities that society expected to see in art. The Charing Cross Bridge goes against everything that people wanted to see. No one image is clearly defined but, yet the viewer is still able to identify the scene. This original rejection forced artists to form the Anonymous Society of Painters, Sculptors, and Engravers and organized independent exhibitions to break from the Salon’s traditions. The Impressionists completed paintings often suggested to the viewer that they were not finished, they appeared rushed, that artists would dash off to preserve an idea of what to paint more carefully at a later date. Impressions were not meant to be sold but, were meant to be quick paintings/sketches to be completed at a later date.
Transportation greatly improved at the end of the nineteenth century. London was booming, and it was tremendously transformed by the arrival of the railway system. Metropolitan railroads permitted the growth of suburbs in neighbouring counties from which middle class and rich people would travel to many places. The development of the railway resulted in the construction of new and improved bridges including the Charing Cross Railroad Bridge in the center of London. On later trips, he managed to use these components in a series that included Charing Cross Bridge. Monet created several paintings of this bridge represented from slightly different angles and different times of the day. Monet enjoyed painting images of ordinary things. The images included not only of bridges and trains but also of The Saint-Lazare Station. This allowed Monet to further develop his technique of how steam from the trains affected the images around him. We can clearly see his attempt at creating this dreamy interaction between the fog, pollution and steam in Charing Cross Bridge, 1902.
Impressionists were concerned about the lighting of any object in a painting. Claude Monet’s pieces represent the distinctive impressionist approach through its use of lighting with limited amount of colour yet where there should be dark, Monet recreates it by adding light. For instance, in a scene filled with dark foliage, Monet would utilize lighter greens in the setting which would in turn, make the painting lighter overall. In Charing Cross Bridge, 1902 he utilizes a variety of light colours to allow the bridge and towers to stand out without utilizing dark colours excessively.
Oil paints are linked to permanence. They are the best for demonstrating good detail and the contrast between light and dark. Although Charing Cross Bridge, 1902 lacks these qualities, Monet’s use of oil paints utilizes the paints ability to refract the light through its many layers of, creating a luminous appearance of depth in the painting. Oil paints are durable and stay solid over time – many pieces focused from the Renaissance to Post-Impressionism are painted in oils. Oil paint is commonly mixed with linseed oil, but because of the time and place that Monet worked, he frequently mixed his paints with poppy-seed oil. Since Claude Monet used the method of impasto, using poppy-seed oil made his colours thinner as well as made the paint dry slower. Monet utilized oil on wood for Charing Cross Bridge. He applied a lot of paint in layers so that he could produce a huge body of colour. He would also add more oil per layer of paint then beneath for proper drying. If each layer had less oil, the end result would break and peel.
Europe provided painters with a constant supply of changing subject matter. Countries and cities were easy to get to; therefore, artists could travel to different location to further master their craft. After the siege of Paris, immediate action was taken to reconstruct the parts of the city that had been destroyed. Painters took this as an opportunity to paint the changes in the land, adding structures that hadn’t been there before and painting at different times of the day, as the light would reflect upon buildings and objects in particular ways. Impressionists, such as Pissarro, began painting the renovated city, using their new styles to depict its boulevards, gardens, and buildings. While some focused on the cityscape, others turned to the people who lived in the city. The population of Paris exploded post-war and gave the artists a tremendous amount of material for their scenes. Characteristics of these scenes mixed the social classes in public places.
This rapid change also had an impact on the artists in the way they painted. These artists were incapable of producing properly composed and finished pieces/paintings. In order to capture the ever-changing effects of light on the canvas, the artists painted rapidly, analyzing tone and colour at the expense of composition and drawing. This caused traditional subject matter to downgrade and attention shifted. Artists became dissatisfied early in their careers with the traditional emphasis on depicting historical and mythological subjects. In efforts to reproduce immediate visual impressions as if they were perceived by the eye, they abandoned the use of greys and blacks in their shadows. Monet’s Charing Cross Bridge eludes the use of greys and blacks and relies more on blues and colours that would have been reflected on the bridge and towers.
Claude Monet and Charing Cross Bridge, 1902 are clearly results of the influences and challenges of the time. Claude Monet obviously was influence and intrigued by what he saw and how it changed over time. The series of the Charing Cross Bridge and Saint-Lazare Station are clear examples of this. The introduction of new materials was introduced, and different ways of painting were constantly being challenged. Monet painted at a time of many changes and challenges. The Industrial age also provide Monet with endless opportunities to paint new ideas. Also, Society had its mind set on what art should be, making impressionism difficult to accept for many. But as with other art periods people learn to accept and appreciate ‘the new’. Monet and impressionism opened the door for other artist to continue to challenge the norm, creating new art styles and opportunities for artists.
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Impressionism in a Cup: Travelling from Monet’s Water Lillies to Renoir’s Parties
The Industrial Revolution brought about structural changes in Europe. It sparked interest in new ideas and the need for new development. The Industrial Revolution introduced the new art form of impressionism and influenced many artists. Impressionism flourished out of the art form of Realism. The word impressionist originated by the critics as an insult to the young artists. It came from the title of Monets painting Impressionism of the Rising Sun. This painting shows that the artists intention was to show the landscape as his personal impression. In 1874, a group of young painters organized an exhibit with art that broke the established customs and appeared revolutionary. This group included two of the most famous artists Oscar-Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. When critics first viewed the new art form in the nineteenth century, they were appalled. It was viewed as a disgrace to the accepted classic art form. These painters tried to give vivid impressions o!
f people and places as they might appear in a brief glance. Impressionist studied light and color and experimented with small patches of different colors placed side by side to create shimmering effects. They derived new concepts from the lessons of the past and the present. Impressionist painted their art in the wide openness of the outdoors. They believed that they could capture the full effect of the objects that they are painting. Many artists tried to capture the beauty of inanimate objects, such as nature or landmarks, but artist such as Renoir seek the beauty in the human body. The art of the nineteenth century gave an opening the larger freedom of the individual human being.
Oscar-Claude Monet was born on November 14, 1840 in Paris. Monet describes himself as being “a lone, independent spirit and untutored genius”(Mannering 1996, 57). As a young man, Monet had achieved fame as cartoonist and instant portraitist. His cartoonist led to his encounter with Eugene Boudin, who took his paints and worked outside directly with nature. Monet soon became convert to working in the open air with nature. This refers to the thought that most impressionist worked outdoors. Monet began to work in the studio and made friends with his future fellow Impressionists Renoir. Monet appointed himself leader of the group that he worked with in the studio. While on vacation in Normandy, France, he gained praise from the critics for two of his works. Monet had already attempted lightening his palette and painting with cursory brushstrokes. This eliminated details and gave the paintings a less defined appearance. Monet and Renoir began to work rougher and used mor!
e canvas. Monets new style of painting began to receive criticisms and harsh rejection. After the Franco-Prussian War, Monet along with friends went to Argenteuil. Argenteuil became the headquarters for Impressionism and separated itself from the traditional art academies. Monets works express a pantheistic style full of freedom. His works demonstrate a vision like canvas of Impressionism, the colors separate into their own elements. He shows less interest in detailed description but more in the true way objects appear. Many of his paintings show both the daylight and the moonlight reflecting on the object, therefore the colors and their appearance become more important than the object. The theme of all of his works is the interplay of reflection and reality. The works of Monet are a reflection of the happy period after the Industrial Revolution that was free from material worries. Monet was the only figure of the Impressionist movement that remained true to the I!
mpressionists view of nature. Claude Monet was and always will be considered the greatest Impressionists of all time because of his beautiful contributions the artistic world. Claude Monet died on December 5,1926 in Giverny. Monet became one of the most influential and studied artist of his time. He continue to influence upcoming artist to form new art movements even after the second World War.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir was born on February 25,1841 into a working class family. Renoir was the only Impressionists painter who was from the working class. He was known as the porcelain painter because of the beauty he gives to his paintings. His paintings reveal that he had a problem-free childhood and that he had a fanciful and daydreamy childhood. Renoir used his savings to take a course of study at the nearby art academy. He painted histories, myths and portraits and spent much of his time copying the masterpieces in the Louvre. Renoir painted many landscapes and social scenes, but his main focus was on the image of woman. After the death of Marie Antoinette, he painted image as many times as people demanded it. Renoir was a frank and unpretentious veiwer of the human being. After 1872, Renoir tried to break away from the ideals of Impressionism by painting the high society, but it attracted a great deal of favorable attention. He believed that it was the artists place to arrange the parts of a painting where the need to be placed.