Oscar-Claude Monet was a French artist born in the 19th century and is most known for the works of nature he produced. He was the son of a shop owner in the port city of Le Havre in France.
Even as a small child, he amused himself with producing caricatures.
This is the story of Claude Monet. His life, his work, his complete satisfaction with brief descriptions of his art, and everything in between.
At the age of seventeen, he quit school and began to earn a living through drawing.
He managed to save two thousand francs to begin his art career. At 19 years of age, he found himself in the capital Paris, where he studied the arts before being conscripted for military service.
Monet enlisted in training in Algeria, training in a cavalry regiment. He was only there for a year, before being sent home with typhoid fever.
In the year 1862, he was back in Paris and began studying at the art Academy of Charle Gleyre, where he learned traditional painting methods.
A man such as Monet could never be satisfied with this, and his ingenuity in the arts set him on a path to find his own artistic expression. He was led to en Plein air, or Plein air painting, where he conducted his painting outside in nature, taking in the heat from the sun and the cool of nature.
Monet sought to develop his own style, unhindered by the conventional forms of painting learned under Gleyre. Plein air painting had its risks, however. A stray discus hit his leg, injuring him, and putting him out of action.
The artist’s work reflected his personality as well as reflected the natural world around him. He was able to lace the works with his own unique style and hence is a part of the story of Claude Monet
While studying in Paris, his attractiveness and his stylish clothing naturally drew in female models, who were interested in him.
The artist is quoted as saying, “I only sleep with duchesses or maids. Preferably duchesses’ maids. Anything in between turns me right off.” The interest in him was not often returned.
Many of the works produced by Monet focused on the use of haystacks. In the year 1890, he utilized the haystacks in a field to capture the ideas of light and atmosphere. He has produced haystacks encapsulated in the pale wintry light, the fogs of springtime and haystacks shining in beautiful summer sunsets.
Monet had a talent for capturing the seasons in his works, and when he exhibited these paintings in 1891, the paintings swept Monet’s viewers up into his works, giving many a sense of awe.
Another series of works, The Water Lily Pond Painting, resulted in around twenty-five finished paintings.
The artist painted the scene at a variety of times and seasons, capturing the unique views of the scene at various times of the year.
These paintings were works that gave the artist critical acclaim and were remember well beyond his demise.
Due to the nature of these paintings, Monet was said to have carried multiple canvasses around. He would write the time of the day on the back, to best keep track of the day.
This master Impressionist needed to keep track of the time and place, so he could best account for the light of sunrise and sunset, the heat of the summer sunlight, the oranges and fallen leaves of autumn, and the fresh grass and flowers of springtime.
Many artists seek to give their paintings a title… not Monet.
It begs the question:
Are titles a necessity for artwork?
Can paintings without a title become real hits and survive the ravages of time?
Many of his contemporaries in the 19th century were unappreciative and unimpressed by Monet’s lack of titling.
Titles such as “View of the village” left many scratching their heads, such as the likes of Edmond Renoir, the brother of the famous artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir. In his mind, it was a problem.
As Edmond prepared a catalog for an art exhibit of avant-garde art in 1874, Monet was asked a question. “What do we call this painting of a sunrise?”
“Just call it an impression.”
Impression, Sunrise is the name recorded for that painting, simplistic and concise, something which even his critics joked about.
Another critic, Louis Leroy, suggested that even wallpaper in its basic state is more finished than this work.
Another artwork, Woman with a Parasol, was mocked for its style.
Many of his critics suggested the works he produced lacked the detail and style of other paintings, others suggesting his works resembled already finished paintings.
Unfazed, Money continued working in Impressionism and sought to capture the subjects in the instant in time he observed them.
What’s most clear in the story of Claude Monet is that he is an artist who was most passionate about capturing the beautiful French countryside.
The artist painted the same scene many times over the seasons to better capture the changes in light and the passage of time and season. Even before the invention of the camera, Monet captured nature all around him, experimenting in his art with the light and shadow of the time.
Although he had noisy critics accusing him of repetition, he found a unique routine with his art which allowed him to experiment in ways other artists never did.
One thing is for sure: Monet’s artworks are so special that they do not require a title, as his critics surmised.
The beauty present in nature itself does all the work for him. The reasons behind why we make art is diverse, and often are interesting!
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