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Claude Oscar Monet


Oscar Monet

Monet: Expression of the Light by Emotions

"I am a slave to my work, forever in pursuit of the impossible... I have little time left to live and I must give all of it to painting, in the hope that I will finally achieve something fine, which if it is possible will also satisfy me ", Monet writes in his letter to his friend G. Bernheim-Jeune in 1918. It is unknown that if he was satisfied with, what he had done, before his death; but it is certain that he has started a new epoch in Western Art History with his paintings which were created by looking from a different perspective than traditional painting.

The artist, who gave the name to Impressionism with his artwork, devoted himself to express his perceived senses by means of painting.

Monet did never have a desire to study at an academy. He had his own technique, although he studied and worked
with painters. His works had never been made by a systematically-practiced technique. He had his own technique that was continuously developing by transferring his observations to paintings. Several techniques are in question here, which varies
from slight differences due to the structure and the lighting of the object: The use of bright and pure colors, sometimes spread out, sometimes divide, sometimes thick, sometimes transparent. The moving elements like tremble and pointy brush strokes were arranged by skilful placing. He did not just paint impressions of his observations; also reflected his feelings inside.

The same themed paintings of different expressions may be seen as a reflection of the artist's internal world. For example; he usually preferred to paint landscapes under the summer light, but after his wife's death he preferred to paint  the same themes by using cold, dark and blurred colors. This example may be seen as his expression of sadness for the

Monet, who was a landscape painter, spent his childhood years in the nature of La Havre. He learnt the language of the nature, as he noticed the very slightest changes in the weather. When the people around saw the caricatures made by him, they realized his talent in painting.

However he decided to become an artist when he met Boudin the painter. With the given encourage by Boudin, he begun to paint landscapes. He left his hometown, went to Paris and got into the art scene. There he met the artists Camille Pissarro, Frédéric Bazille, Alfred Sisley, Aguste Renoir and Edouard Manet who will become the
pioneers of the Impressionism. His paintings of early years were accepted to the famous gallery of the period, named Salon. But the very same place rejected his Impressionist works in the following years. Even Lady in a Green Dress, one of his paintings exhibited in Salon, was made in four days; the way of portraying effects of light was conspicuous detail.

Monet's art did not belong to any figural rules. He created his own technique according to his relation with nature and his
observations. The Garden on summer theme, which he used in his early works, broke down the traditional light and form rules
of painting and took on in a new way. His London journey did not make any differences on his technique; but the city's misty
and hazy atmosphere became a source of inspiration for his works. After the garden theme, there come sea landscapes. In
these works reflections on the water pictured by an impressionist view. Beach, riverside, sailboat and marina themes come
after the sea landscape. In the pictures of this period, by improving his technique, he showed the reflection of the sunlight by drawing bright colors and cut brush strokes. In these landscape pictures, he kept on painting human figures; he illustrated his wife Camile and his son Jean as models. Iron bridges and poppies found place as composition issues after
this term. His impressionist look was getting clear in the six years following 1872, the year which the painter moved to Argenteuil. This term's paintings may look like as photographic snapshots by the way of expression of the instant events.

Also Gar of Saint-Lazare series have a photographic look which was painted at the end of this period. Sudden changes of
light and its effects, take forms on the canvas in painter's viewpoint. Monet begun to paint about Vétheuil, the site he
moved in 1878. He painted about riverside of Seine and country views. Also he illustrated winter landscapes in Vétheuil despite his usual preference of sunny weathers and intense light delusions. Especially, he pictured ice breakings over Seine River as series. In 1881, he went to Eterat and painted Rocks of Eterat series there. In 1888 he started to paint haystack series. While he was working on them, he also started the poplar series. The reason of choosing hays and poplars is to show the change of their appearance by transforming of light-shadow while they have the same form and same fixed posture.

In between 1892-1895 he made the Rouen Cathedral series. Again, he focused on light and the effects of reflection more than a
realistic and ideal image. In 1896, after he started Morning at Seine series; he visited London in 1899 and at his return he painted the Landscape of Thames in his studio. His journey to Venice made him an admirer to this water city and gave him a reason to create new pictures full of light delusions. Monet's last series is Waterlilies which he started in 1899 and continued till the end of his life. To paint the waterlillies in the pools of his garden in Giverny, he constructed two more studios in addition to the one in present. In the last years of his life, he suffered from sight disorder although he had an
operation. For this reason, his last years paintings became deformational and looked as if they were abstract works. In these paintings, which are the visual expression of the light effects over the waterlillies, the colors are lap strake; there are no concrete objects anymore.

Light is the core theme of Monet's paintings. He had the mission to show the transforming image of nature with the changing light through the day in his paintings. We can see these inquisitive practices in his last works. The painter interested in object's images under the light more than the object itself. He searched a way to express these images related to light with colors and he improved his technique with renovating continuously. That's why he painted the same object in series.

Light delusions comes from sudden changes of water's reflection is the main theme in artist's works. While Monet worked continuously to improve his technique and searching the new, he never attempted to encourage them theoretically. He only focused on painting. So many people agree that his paintings have a poetic language. He just pictured the reality, according to his own point of view. He filtered his perceptions of reality and then created his own. Everyone has his/her own reality, but Monet's pictures show us a way of describing of a man's poetic vision and his world. How lucky we are that he shared it
with the whole world.

Behiye Bobaroğlu

Further Reading:

Heinrich, Christoph. Claude Monet. Köln: Tachen, 2000.
Seitz, William C. Monet. London: Thames and Hudson Ltd., 1989.
Potts, Vanesa. Monet. London: Parragon Book, 2001.
Patin, Sylvie. Monet-The Ultimate Impressionist. New York: Thames and Hudson Ltd., 1993.

Monet Painting - Video




Video Maker: Sundroid - Southern California





About this video:

Monet was literally the "boss" of impressionism movement in the history of art, because it was a painting he did in 1872, titled "Impression, Sunrise", which had a baffled art critic pick out the word "impression" to describe, at the time, the relatively new art trend. The soundtrack in this piece is the first 3 minutes and 45 seconds of Chopin's "Piano Concerto No. 1 In E minor, Op.11: Romance - Larghetto"

Monet Paint
The Picnic, (Detail) 1865-66
Women in The Garden, 1866-67
Camille, or, Lady in a Green Dress, 1866
Portrait of Mrs. Gaudibert. l868
The Luncheon. 1868
Church of Saint-Germain-I'Auxerroi. 1867
The Garden of the Infanta. 1867
The River. 1868
The Roches Noires Hotel at Trouville. 1870
The Beach at Sainte-Adresse, 1867
La Grenouillere. 1869
Bathing at La Grenouillére. 1869
The Magpie. 1869
Terrace at The Seaside, Sainte-Adresse. 1866
On The Beach, Trouville. 1870
Westminster Bridge. 1871
The Railway Bridge at Argenteuil (Detail). 1873
Unloading Coal. 1872
Boulevard Des Capucines. 1873
Wild Poppies. 1873
The Luncheon. 1873
Stormy Sea at Etretat. 1873




Studio Still Life,
Impression. 1872
Barges. 1874
The Bridge at Argenteuil. 1874
The Boats, Regattas at Argenteuil. 1874
Impression of Snow at Sunset. 1874
Regattas at Argenteuil. 1874
Sailing Boat at Argenteuil. 1874
Monceau Park. 1878
Madame Monet and Child. 1875
The Walk. Lady with a Parasol. 1875
Madame Monet in Japanase Eastome. 1876
Rue MontorGueil Decked Out with Flags. 1878
Saint-Lazare Station. 1877
Gare Saint-Lazare. 1877
The Seine at Vétheuil. 1879
The Church at Vétheuil, Winter. 1879
Snow at Argenteuil. 1875
The Frost, 1879
Snow Effect at Vétheuil. 1878
The Break-up of The Ice. 1880
Ice Floes at Vétheuil. 1880
Landscape with Snow, at Dusk. 1880