Oscar-Claude Monet is remembered today as one of the founders of the Impressionist school of painting. In fact the term Impressionism itself was derived from one of his paintings; titled Impression, Sunrise. He was among the most consistent and prolific practitioners of the movement’s philosophy.
Painting of The Poppy Field – credits –,
Highly individualistic and independent, he developed new methods and methodologies while others carried on with the old. When he was in Paris, he visited the Iconic Louvre museum. When he observed painters copying from the Old Masters, he preferred to sit at a window and paint what he saw. The frame of the window was canvas enough for him to mount his imagination upon.
We shall look at some of his most famous paintings below.
1. Impression, Sunrise
This painting of a Le Havre port landscape was exhibited at the first “Impressionist” exhibition in Paris. As the title implies, this scene depicts the sunrise with the weak morning light. Images are hazy, depicting ships at harbor with a blood-red sun rising.
Reviewing this painting, the art critic Louis Leroy disparagingly coined the term ‘Impressionism’ to ridicule the new technique. Monet and his associates seized on this label and appropriated it for their own.
2. Water Lilies
One of Monet’s innovative techniques was to paint the same scene in different lighting and seasons. He went even further with his series of paintings of water lilies. He developed a water garden around the pond at his home in Giverny, France, similar to a Japanese-style water garden. Monet proceeded to put paint to canvas on this scene a massive two hundred and fifty times. The effect is so great and pronounced in his paintings that the viewer is completely submerged inthe water in the paintings. Monet’s efforts saw him suffering from cataracts while working on this series of paintings.
3. The Magpie
This snowscape marks another evolution for the Impressionists. Earlier, shadows were merely depicted with darker colors. But in this paining of a solitary magpie perched atop a gate on a country fence, Monet uses color in the shadows to affect a more realistic rendition of nature and reality.The rendition is extremely soft, accentuating the newly fallen snow.
4. The Poppy Field, near Argenteuil
Monet again breaks new ground with this painting. It is one of the few paintings in which humans are seen. The interesting part is that the same person is shown, not once but twice. His wife, Camille, and their son Jean are seen both at the bottom of and at the top of a hill of poppies. Their proportions differ due to perspective, yet it is clearly them. The entire effect is leisurely and relaxed, befitting a country setting.
5. The Artist’s Garden at Giverny
Monet was a firm believer in taking inspiration from nature, hence his many landscapes. He also believed in helping nature. His garden at his Giverny estate was testament to this. He surrounded himself with all sorts of flowers, creating the natural masterpiece, before capturing it on canvas for posterity. The vivid use of color in this series of paintings gives them a lively feel.
We can clearly see from his work that Monet was a genius. Confident in his talent, he went on to recreate many aspects of the art world.are a refreshing new breath of fresh air that ushered in a tidal wave of change to the art world at large.