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art is the lifeblood of a culture and the most entertaining form of expression, paintings are the key to the discipline of art. With the advancement of paintings, their techniques and the shifting trend all combines to determine the direction of a nation's culture. Like all other fields, history has witnessed revolutionary amendments in the field of art specifically in terms of paintings and various approaches. Claude Monet, the French Impressionist painter (1840-1926) is the pioneer of the revolutionary movement impressionism in the field of art as far as paintings are concerned. This research paper introduces this renowned painter of the 19th century and discusses his life history as well as one of his works in detail.
Literature: Claude Monet
Claude Monet was certainly an innate artist who, with the help of his brilliant painting skills later brought a revolution in the related field.
Overview of Claude Monet
Since childhood he displayed the geniuses of an artist when he produced some of his marvelous caricatures and supplied to an art store at the age of sixteen (Monet French). This is where he met Boudin who saw in him the germs of an emerging artist and convinced Monet to step out in the world to prove his ability to paint. In 1860 Monet came across Pissarro at the Academie Suisse in Paris (Monet French). Monet's love of art and painting faced many challenges and his career as a full-fledged artist saw many hardships (Monet French). He served in the military as a compulsion for one year and returned to France. Jongkind influenced his artistic style and soon afterwards Monet started his career under the guidance of Charles Gleyre where he became friends with Frederic Bazille (1841-1870), Renoir (q.v.) and Sisley (q.v.). (Monet French)
Though Monet faced severe criticism he exhibited his first works at the Studio of 1865 followed by more exhibitions in 1866, 1868 and 1880. Monet and Camille were happily married in 1870 (Monet French). With the demise of his wife in 1879, Monet soon fell for Alice Hoschede and moved to Giverny in 1883 where he produced his various magnum opuses. For instance, he painted in 1890 and 1891, the haystack and the poplar series respectively. In 1892, his second marriage to Alice took place and the same year he delved into his remarkable works to date sketching and painting the beauty that lay behind water lilies and gardens (Monet French).
Influence of the artist's works
The famous French Impressionist is also known as Claude Oscar Monet (Claude). His influence on paintings can be examined and measured through the works of some of the most famous Impressionist painters namely, Theodore Butler, Theodore Robinson and Lila Cabot (Claude). These artists were the students of Monet and hence it is evident that the artist has made a considerable contribution in the field of art by initiating the concept of Impressionism (Claude). He helped other artists both of his times and the generation of painters next in line to better understand and utilize the revolutionary techniques in their paintings.
Claude Monet: The Father of Impressionism
The uniqueness of his works and the exploration of brilliant yet revolutionary and daring techniques in his paintings resulted in the movement of Impressionism and gave way to an entirely new concept of painting objects and different scenery. Therefore, I along with the millions of individuals consider Monet as the Father of Impressionism (Felcity: 69) and the leader of the subsequent movement. (Monet Artchive)
Why must Monet be considered as the Leader and the Father of Impressionism?
The thesis statement of our research paper as stated above is not just a claim. The following passages of this paper will make use of tons of quotations from some of the experts in the field in order to support our thesis statement and to answer the above question.
Why Monet was considered, as the leader by his contemporary painters is certainly not difficult to answer for his work provides sufficient proof for the same (Monet Artchive). He was neither intellectually better nor he had an edge over Pissarro, Renoir, Cezanne and Morisot in answering doubts and discovering loopholes in classical realistic approach (a standard art of the time). The only thing that made the French painter an Impressionist and one of his kind, was his awareness and his acumen regarding the dormant possibilities of the shared ideas regarding various methodologies of paintings (Monet Artchive). He rejected the monotonous ways in which paintings were done in his times and paved the way for not only the movement of Impressionism but also fore the Abstract Expressionism Movement (Dawna). The remarkableness that speaks volumes of his works is supported by "Monet offers one of the most extraordinary transformations known in the lifework of an artist" (Artchive). Hence, what impressions Monet used in his works were later on adapted by other Impressionists as guidelines to a successful and a different painting. (Artchive)
There is still another reason for Monet's outstanding position as an Impressionist. If we compare his paintings over a short period with the paintings of the others, we see that while the others painted within a restricted range of ideas and even of feelings, so that the Renoir of the period 1873-76 are characterized by the joyousness in a collective world of recreation described earlier, Monet, with his powerful, ever alert eye, was able to paint at the same time brilliant pictures and also rather grayed ones in neutral tones" (Artchive).
This notion is further evident in the words of the most eminent painter Paul Cezanne, one of his colleagues: "Monet is the First Eye. The first one to view exquisite colors, lines, dashes, dots, and dabs... And "globs" in live flowers and plants... To bring those globs to life on canvas... To know the very soul of the breezes stirring each petal... To stroke the light and shadow into living facsimile" (Dawna). His overuse of pigments of blues, purples, yellows and the dominant whites gave added effect of elegance and originality coupled with the childish mirth due to simplicity (Dawna), to his works that include:
Some Popular Works of Monet
Water Lilies (Oil on Canvas): Monet was adept at the art of blending the real with the reflection of the desired effects in his works. This technique is followed by many of his contemporaries using violent and rough brushstrokes.
Spring Flower (Oil on Fabric): This still life painting reflects the leader's innovative technique of scientific precision and freshness as well as immediacy of the objects, captivating even the minute details of the transitory effects.
Wheat Field (Oil on Fabric): This landscape also demonstrates the artist's unique style of brushwork using dominant pigments of blues and whites to paint a disturbed sky.
The Red Kerchief: Portrait of Mrs. Monet (Oil on fabric): This is one of the most simple yet Monet's most intricate paintings that reveal his efforts to initiate the impressionism reflections in paintings. This is the painting that we will discuss in detail to highlight the incorporation of revolutionary ideas and distinct techniques.
Review of Monet's Work -- the Red Kerchief: Portrait of Mrs. Monet
Studying Monet's painting that uses oil on fabric under the title, The Red Kerchief: Portrait of Mrs. Monet reveals almost all the aspects of the revolutionary painting techniques that the French Impressionist explored and introduced. In this painting, Monet "painted with wild abandon, in "blocks" of color, light and shadow" (Dawna) and only the bold and blatant red blocks of pigment used to paint Mrs. Monet's scarf are not muted. Otherwise his technique of using unobtrusively muted colors in paintings is yet another salient feature of Monet's work that is apparent in this painting. Hence, Monet in his paintings "restricted himself to an increasingly silent and solitary world" (Artchive). In…[continue]
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