A major artistic force behind impressionistic paintings, Claude Monet, is inevitably a big name in art history. He was a crucial figure in the Impressionist period that changed the landscape of French painting in the second half of the nineteenth century.
It’s like Monet himself accidentally coined the term Impressionism through his undying and most recognized painting Impression, Sunrise. He admired nature in its most delightful form and captured it in its true sense on the canvas.
Let’s strive to translate his unique perception as an artist and cherish his artwork legacy. Read the segment below to know more about the heritage of Claude Monet, his paintings, and his artistic journey.
Roots In Realism
Monet was 11 years old when he started attending an art-focused high school in his hometown. His initial learnings began with Jacques Francois’s orchard, and then he learned the art of landscape painting from a native painter, Eugene Boudin. Under John Jongkind, Eugene and Monet both mastered the art of painting nature at the moment.
One of his first landscape paintings of Monet was View at Rouelles, Le Havre. It is a lifelike sylvan scene that resembles some of his later works. He was mesmerized with realism from the beginning and drew significantly in this genre. Monet was highly affected by accuracy in his subject matters. That’s why figures were a class apart and unembellished in natural scenery.
In his early 20s, he spent time in Louvre, Paris, where he learned to improve his artwork techniques from his contemporary artists. Most artists tried copying the masterworks displayed in the Louvre, but Monet preferred drawing the beauty he could see out of the revered art museum.
The First Impressionist Paintings of Claude Monet
Until the 1860s, there was not much hype about Monet’s artistic talents. However, he had already painted Chailly, Trouville, Honfleur, etc. Then, at the end of 186os, Monet and Renoir worked together for the first time. The style was almost identical in Claude Monet paintings, with scintillating reflections in rippling water, rowboats in the foreground, and the beauty of nature more surreal than ever.
In 1870, Claude Monet illustrated a study of Camille on the beach, which was a classic example of visual realism. The painting was so natural that the grains appeared embedded in the pigment. In the upcoming years, 1872 and 1873, he tried his hands on painting canals, windmills, and boats.
These were the years that were heightened by the Impressionist movement. In 1872, Monet paved his way to the development of Impressionism and painted his most class-apart painting, Impression Sunrise. It is a depiction of the harbor of Le Havre just a year after France lost the war against Prussia. In this artwork, the regeneration of France is e at the busy port of Le Havre.
But, the most endearing part of the canvas remains the Sun. It is the focal element with small rowboats in the foreground. Many art critics refer to this eclectic painting as amateurish and unfinished. However, this artwork proved a new beginning for the artist, and its title gave many other artists a title for their movement. Leading to this, each of them identified themselves as s. Impressionists.
A Period of Loss
In the winters of 1876-77, Monet’s first series of works were executed in the Gare Saint-Lazare in Paris. The series was quite different from what generally was expected from him. It was a total break from Impressionist style painting inspired by nature.
Instead, these artworks portrayed train engines belching smoke, steam in the great shed, and other mechanical objects at the focal point. 1879 proved very sad for Monet because his wife Camille Monet contracted tuberculosis and was weakened by childbirth. Camille on Her Deathbed was Monet’s final tribute to her.
The painting depicts a figure covered in flower blossoms with her face bathed in light and feather brush strokes. The artist painted a dozen paintings to overcome and express his loss in this span. That’s not all! His Ice Drift Series depicts the melting of ice in the River Seine. These paintings are set over muted colors, denuded trees, saturated settings, and frozen landscapes, reflecting the starkness in Monet’s life as he immersed himself in such a profound loss.
The Influence of Claude Monet
The artist painted several other series like Houses of Parliament, studies of Waterloo Bridge, and his most famous series of Water lily pond paintings. However, a unique thing about water lilies is that Monet continued them for two decades of his life. It consists of approximately 300 canvases, all of which 40 are extravagant and large.
Imagining a dedication and impactful approach to art made him the artist. His work inspired the artists of the post-impressionist phase, including The Starry Night’s artist Vincent Van Gogh. In addition, his unique vision, bright color palette, and painting conformations made him set a benchmark for future generations.
His artistic development moved towards abstraction, and he experimented with paints to create in-depth lifelike images. His innovative brushwork encapsulated the momentary glimpses of the light on perspective.
The Bottom Line
Get to know Claude Monet’s most famous paintings closely by looking for Impression Sunrise, San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk, and Water Lillies. These are precious pieces of art by him. Each of them is innovative in its style and depicts next-level perfection in its making.