It wouldn’t be so wrong saying that Monet Paintings largely influenced the development of what we call Modern Art. The founder of French impressionistic painting, Claude Monet, is certainly one of the greatest names in art history, while his style and approach influenced generation of artists in the late 19th and early 20th Century. Of course, the most famous Monet paintings are those belonging to Impressionism. The movement got this name from the title of the most recognized Monet’s painting; Impression, Sunrise. It was April 1874, when an exhibition in Paris was organized. Monet already had a series of what would become Impressionist paintings. The artist himself claims that the name “Impressionism” was coined accidentally. They asked me for a title for the catalogue, it couldn't really be taken for a view of Le Havre, and I said: 'Put Impression.’, Monet claimed, although this statement was disputed by some art critics.
During his life, Claude Monet and his art were often criticized. He was criticized for abandoning old, traditional painting techniques. Monet indeed created something revolutionary in art, and formed a base for avant-garde, Modern Art. And what was so revolutionary in his style? First of all, Monet’s Impressionism is mostly about the nature. He aimed to capture nature as it appeared to him at the moment. His style is also known for experiments with light and shadow, and light and shadow change during a single day. Monet usually used very strong colors – however, he didn’t mix them. Claude Monet artworks are characterized by very short brush strokes painted onto the canvas. Thinking mostly about color and shapes, Monet didn’t focus on scenes and objects. He completely rejected the painting theory of his time and embraced new style. As he said once: I like to paint as a bird sings.
Editors’ Tip: Monet or The Triumph of Impressionism
Claude Monet is one of the greatest artists in history. There is no doubt about that. Even after 100 years, art lovers are still stunned with the beauty of Monet’s paintings, while his style has been constantly praised. No other artist, apart from J.M.W. Turner, tried as hard as Claude Monet (1840–1926) to capture light itself on canvas. It could be said that Monet reinvented the possibilities of color. The high point of his explorations was the late series of waterlilies, painted in his own garden at Giverny, which, in their approach toward almost total formlessness, are really the origin of abstract art. This book was published by Taschen and it offers biography of the artist with the list of his amazing works.
Claude Monet's Impression, Sunrise is the famous painting that paved the way to the development of Impressionism. Painted in 1872, a year after France lost the war against Prussia, this famous Monet painting depicts the harbor of Le Havre. The regeneration of France was exemplified in the busy port of Le Harve (we can see steamboats and cranes in the background). However, the most famous element on this wonderful composition is probably the Sun – the red Sun is actually the focal element, together with small rowboats in the foreground.
Claude Monet's garden at Giverny is probably the most famous garden in France. The Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies was created in 1899 and it’s a part of the famous Water Lilies series which contains around 250 paintings. Monet was a passionate horticulturist. The paintings from this series (including the Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies) depict Monet's beloved flower garden in his home in Giverny.
The Rouen Cathedral, Facade (Sunset) is a painting from the famous Rouen Cathedral series. Another great example of Claude Monet paintings that changed the course of art history, these works capture the façade of the beautiful cathedral in the town of Rouen, but painted in different periods of days, and different periods of seasons. Therefore, there are paintings in this series that depict the cathedral during the sunset, sunlight, morning light, and so on. Monet’s experiments with light probably culminated with this series of works. There is nothing more important than the light. The light itself is actually a subject in this fascinating series.
One more painting that we are presenting comes from the famous Claude Monet's series that is titled Houses of Parliament. It’s a series of oil paintings depicting the Palace of Westminster, the seat of the British Parliament. As it’s the case with the Rouen Cathedral series, The Houses of Parliament paintings were also created during different periods of day. Monet was in London in the fall of 1899 and the early months of 1900 and 1901, and painted from a window or a terrace at St Thomas' Hospital overlooking the river Thames. In this series of works, Monet ended his practice of completing the whole painting while in front of the motif. Instead, the artist began using his own memory or photographs.
This is another Claude Monet painting from the Monet’s Water Lilly series. However, there are dozens of paintings from this series that represent the trademark of the Impressionist movement. The Water Lilly paintings are probably one of the most praised works in Modern and contemporary art. The viewer remains simply fascinated with the incredible diversity of nature that is represented in these stunning Monet’s paintings. Many of the paintings from this series were sold for dozens of millions of dollars at auctions in the last ten years.
Claude Monet once said that “Venice is too beautiful to be painted”. But, he was wrong, because he created a series of extraordinary paintings of Venetian monastery-island entitled San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk. This series of paintings were created between 1908 and 1912. Monet painted San Giorgio Maggiore in six various lighting conditions. In this series, Monet also painted without being present in front of his motif. Actually, he visited Venice only once.
Women with a Parasol - Madame Monet and Her Son is a typical Impressionist painting, depicting Monet’s wife and their son. This one was created in 1875, but there are a number of similar paintings made in the period from 1871 to 1877 when the family was living in Argenteuil. This painting is not a classical piece of portraiture; it’s rather a genre painting. It took few hours for Monet to create this amazing piece.
The Poplars is a series of paintings created in 1891. The pieces from this series are depicting beautiful trees, along the banks of the Epte River, a few kilometers upstream from Claude Monet's home and studio. Monet even used a small boat as his studio while he was painting the trees. The London National Gallery exhibited five paintings from the series in 2015.
In 1890 and 1891, Monet created twenty-five paintings that are part of the series entitled Haystack. The paintings from this series depict stacks of hay in the field after the harvest season. However, the most important feature of the series is Monet’s experiments with light and shadow. The subjects were painted in fields near Monet's home in Giverny, France.
We reached the tenth Monet’s painting. It’s simply impossible to make a list of all fascinating works by this great Master. Beach in Pourville was created in 1882, one of a series of oil-on-canvas works made by Monet that year in the small seaside resort of Pourville-sur-Mer in the northern part of France. This painting was stolen in 2000, from Poznań National Museum. However, it was recovered 10 years later, while the thief was arrested.
All Images used for illustrative purposes only.