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The Impressionist Mastermind: Claude Monet
Claude Monet is considered to be the sole leader and prime innovator of impressionism – the 19th century art movement. He managed to capture, on canvas, the vivid beauty of nature in a manner of style that was vibrant and largely self-generated. Monet, since day one, aspired to capture the true essence of nature with his work and, keeping his brilliant paintings in mind, the world agrees he was quite successful at that. His subjects included scenes from his beloved garden to urban scenarios. Throughout his rather rebellious career, he never conformed to the conventional ways of painting. Monet was the greatest summit of uniqueness when it came to the art movement of impressionism.
Biography of Claude Monet
Early Life of Claude Monet
Born in Paris on the 14th of November 1840, Claude Monet opened his eyes to a world developing as rapid as a speeding bullet. His family left the bold Parisian neighborhood soon after his birth and made their move to Le Havre. Le Havre was where he was brought up. Monet’s father used to dream that his son would make himself a successful grocer but, little did he know, what the young artist had in stock for the world.
Claude Monet’s Interest in Art
Young Claude Monet’s interest was in art and art alone. He knew he wanted to become an artist since his childhood. He made quite a name for himself making charcoal impressions in Le Havre while growing up. Earning the first of his earnings from these caricatures was a rite of passage for Monet. Ever since he started earning, (by selling his charcoal caricatures) he was largely motivated to pursue his passion for art at a much more serious scale. As soon as his father discovered of his career choice, he stopped financing him and he was reduced to survive on the money he saved from his selling his early works.
Later Years – Developing A Unique Style
Teenage Monet paid a visit to Paris in 1857. He spent most of his time there in the Louvre Museum of Art. He looked upon the works of the old masters with respect and drew great inspiration from them but, he was never really satisfied with the idea of imitating them. He wanted to draw something natural. He’d rather opt out painting a simple scene of a Parisian street through an open window than choose a complex concept. By early 1861, he joined the armed forces of France and served for two years after which, he fell ill. He was discharged from the force due to his illness. He focused only on pursuing art as a career from then onwards.
Claude Monet Marriage With Camille
He got married at the age of thirty, in 1870. A war between France and Prussia broke shortly after he was wed to Camille Doncieux. The war made him leave his homeland in terror and he settled in London. He was stationed at London for quite a while after which he went to Holland and spent some of his time there before finally returning to France and his beloved Paris. He made a permanent settlement for his family close to the river Seine: a place that enable him to stay in close contact with his contemporaries: Auguste Renoir, Sisley, Gustave and Manet.
The Birth Of Impressionism
In April 1874, the first ever ‘impressionist’ exhibition was held. The term ‘impressionist’ was used by a famous art critic who was attending the exhibition. He argued that the paintings aren’t a true sketch of what was intended but are only an impression – with their rough lines and inconsistent colorations. Monet and the gang took the term as an appropriate label for their art and finally, this unique form of art (the one Monet was pursuing) found a name for itself.
Claude Monet’s Garden: The Inspiration Behind Water Lilies
Monet become a highly esteemed and popular artist by the turn of the century. He started earning quite a handsome living. A large chunk of his money went into developing his formal garden which he had made at his land in Giverny. This garden was then to become the sole inspiration behind one of his most famous series works: water lilies. He loved to sketch scenes from his garden.
In honor of the Frenchmen who gave up their lives for the good cause in the First World War, Monet painted a series of paintings. Monet, being a former soldier himself, felt greatly for the ones who died and dedicated his series of weeping willow paintings to them. Soon after the war concluded, Monet developed a disease of the eye. He was surgically treated for it and had the cataracts of his eyes removed and became disabled. Even that did not bring him down from doing what he loved. He continued to paint with his disability and managed to coin new techniques and further developed his unique style.
Claude Monet is a name that the art world would cherish through many ages to come. He was one of the greatest – if not THE greatest – painters of the modern world. The art he produced was truly something he could call his own. Throughout this broad career of his, he kept innovating; providing fertile soil for the seed of impressionism to grow into the mightiest of trees.
Most Famous Paintings By Claude Monet
Let’s have a look at most famous paintings by Claude Monet
You can buy Master Piece reproduction by Claude Monet here.
This piece of work is a classic example of the kind of things Monet preferred to paint. Impression, Sunrise is the view of the Le Havre harbour from out of one of Monet’s residence windows. This painting was revealed to the masses on the first ever impressionist exhibition held in 1874. For lack of a better name, Monet chose to name it “Impression soliel levant” (which translates to impression, sunrise) in haste. An art critic, who wasn’t very fond of the things he saw in this exhibition, keeping the name of this painting in mind, used the term “Impressionism” for the first time describing Monet and his contemporaries work. From this very painting the name of the great art movement was coined.
Monet’s famous model (who he married later on), Camille is shown posing in this majestic work. Alongside ‘Camille’, she is seen in many other works of the French artists namely: “On the Bank of the Seine”, “The Woman in the Garden”, “Bennecourt” and more. Monet’s Camille (also known as: “The Woman in the Green Dress” or “La femme à la robe verte”) made him a great deal famous among the folk of his time.
‘Water Lilies’ is a large series of paintings (consisting of approximately 250 paintings) Monet made, capturing the serene beauty of his formal garden (situated at his land in Giverny). He loved his garden and this project was something very dear to Monet. Thus the large format and eccentric enthusiasm he painted these paintings with. The purpose of these paintings was to give the viewer a complete experience of the unrelenting grace of nature. His garden, with its pond containing water lilies, was an appropriate subject in order for the idea’s execution. Monet showed how the sunlight changes throughout the day in this series.
Death of Claude Monet
Never did he cease making these paintings better. He was determined to improve them till the very end of his own being. A year after his demise, in 1927, 22 out of 200+ paintings from this series (hand picked by Monet before his death) were exhibited in a public display.