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Painting the Light: The “Eternal” Claude Monet, Part 2 of 2

2022-08-07
Lingua:English
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Led by Monet and his friend group of fellow artists, Impressionism was born around 1874. As Monet said, “Since the appearance of Impressionism, the official salons, which used to be brown, have become blue, green, and red.” That is how Monet and his fellow impressionist artists conquered the art establishment of Paris.

In his lifetime, Monet painted over 250 paintings of water lilies. He produced a collection of works which include Haystacks, Poplars, the Rouen Cathedral, and the Houses of Parliament, painted at different times of day. In 1912, Monet’s Venice exhibition was hailed with significant critical acclaim. He produced 37 views of Venice, showcasing the famous Venetian haze. He also created many wonderful pictures of the Seine.

Monet spent his lifetime achieving mastery as a painter in order to represent the wider world as it appeared to him. He said, “I’m not a great painter… I only know that I do what I can to convey what I experience before nature and that most often, in order to succeed in conveying what I feel, I totally forget the most elementary rules of painting, if they exist, that is.”

Instead of painting in studios, Monet painted outdoors, seeking to depict lights, shapes, and colors as his eyes actually perceived them. Throughout his life, he continually sought to sharpen his perception on the ever-changing nature of light and color on natural scenes. From the grime of a Paris railway station to the incandescent beauty of his gardens in Giverny, he transferred his unique perception of the natural world directly to the canvas, thereby forging an entirely new direction in the world of art. Monet went on to paint more than 2,500 paintings in his lifetime, though some were lost, stolen, or destroyed.

Claude Monet passed away on December 5, 1926, leaving an extraordinary legacy of artworks. He said, “I want to paint the air in which the bridge, the house, and the boat are to be found – the beauty of the air around them – and that is nothing short of impossible.” The work of the artist who sought to paint the “impossible” was immortalized. To the world, he may well have become the “eternal” Claude Monet, as his marvelous perceptions continue to awaken our inner creativity and appreciation of nature.
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