Claude Monet (1840-1926) Automatic translate
On November 14, 1840 in Paris, a son named Oscar Claude Monet was born into the family of the owner of the grocery store. Just five years later, the whole family of the future artist moved to Normandy, to Le Havre. Starting from the age of 14, Monet began to earn money and fame by drawing cartoons.
Here, in Le Havre, a young man met a landscape painter and the original Eugene Boudin, who worked in a very strange manner for that time – he created his paintings not in the studio, but directly in the open air.
Monet quickly realized the advantages of the Boudin method – the immediacy and liveliness of the transfer of nature on canvas. Since then, that is, since about 1856, the artist also began to write in the open air. Even then, Claude Monet decided for himself that he would devote his life to painting, despite the fact that his father had his own opinion on this matter.
Having decided on his mission, Monet moved to Paris, where in 1859 he entered the Suisse Academy. There he meets the realist Gustave Courbet, the great romantic Eugene Delacroix and the impressionist Camille Pissarro. True, after only a year of training, the artist was sent to Algeria for military service, but he returned to Le Havre ahead of schedule for health reasons, and from there he immediately moved back to Paris.
Creative experiments and passion for lighting effects
Fateful for Monet was the entry into the studio of the then-famous painter Charles Gdeir, in 1862. It was there that he met his future friends – Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley and Frederic Bazil, with whom he would initiate the Impressionist movement. The search for new ways in art has become the goal and the main entertainment of the whole company.
Three years later, Monet wrote the painting “Breakfast on the Grass”, the inspiration for which was the scandalous work of Edouard Manet under the same name. However, Monet was not going to shock the public with the image of real nude characters, as Manet did. The young artist was just looking for his style. Already at this time, he began to neglect the line and modeled all forms using color spots. The painter, still in Normandy addicted to writing in nature, was most interested in the effects of natural light. Work on the forest edge gave the young artist the opportunity to observe how the sun’s rays pass through the foliage and fall on various surfaces, the color of which immediately changes, thanks to these reflections and glare of the foliage.
Monet used his lover Camille Donsier as a model for female characters at work, and the male characters in the picture were written from Frederic Bazil. This company, which is set for breakfast in the lap of nature, is only occupied with its conversation and has no contact with the viewer. The artist appears here, like an unnoticed observer, gentlemen and ladies do not pose for him. We can only admire the folds of ladies’ dresses, their backs turned to us. The face of a seated young man located in the lower right corner of the picture is also turned away from the viewer. Monet follows his own laws, he does not clearly structure the composition, like a theatrical mise-en-scene. Breaking the tradition that the image in the foreground of a character with his back turned to the viewer was simply impossible, the artist creates his own laid-back aesthetics, free from prejudice. Unfortunately, the picture was not preserved in its entirety, but its sketches aroused great interest of many young artists. In the Moscow Museum of the Name A.S. Pushkin is one of the options for work, created in 1886.
Another example of the departure from classical painting is the painting “Ladies in the Garden” (1866, Musee d’Orsay, Paris), the layout of which, with the cutting of women’s dresses, would not allow myself to be painted in any academic way. And Monet was not afraid to freely crop the image, giving the impression of fragmentation, similar to the effect of a photograph.
On the canvas we see a typical genre scene, the semantic center of which is shifted to the left edge. The departure from tradition here is expressed in the fact that ladies resting in the shade of trees become an integral part of the flowering landscape, serving as its decoration, like beautiful flowers. Female figures seem to merge with the landscape, their dresses adapt with the background of the shadows cast by tree trunks.
The painter is interested not so much in conveying the individuality of young women, their outfits or activities, but in conveying the play of light and harmony in the relationship between nature and man. You can judge how insignificant for the artist the ladies themselves were by the obvious fact that all four young ladies were written from the same model – Camilla herself. The artist tried to veil this by showing us the face of only one lady sitting on the grass. The figure on the left is shown in profile, the lady next to her covers her face with a bouquet, and the fourth heroine, who reaches out to the flowering bushes, is completely turned away from the viewer.
In the same year, one of Claude Monet’s most famous paintings of the 1860s was painted – “A Woman in a Green Dress” (1866, Kunsthayle, Bremen, Germany). On the canvas, we again see Camilla Donsier. The painter works in a realistic manner, he uses a dark background, on which the face of a young girl, bathed in sun, stands out brightly.
The sharp contrast of the lit and shaded areas resembles the chiaroscuro of Caravaggio. The lyrical image and at the same time very intimate, it is not intended for general viewing: the master unfolds Camilla with his back almost to the observer, the model herself does not look for spectacular poses, leaving us only the opportunity to examine the hem of her dress and the fur coat thrown over it. The work was positively received by both critics and spectators, which brought young Monet fame.
A year later, Monet painted a picture with a very similar theme. One gets the impression that a woman in a light white robe on the painting “Lady in the Garden” (1867, the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg) is needed by the artist only as a pretext for materializing the animation of nature in order to give her a habitable state. The lady again almost turned her back to the viewer, and the artist is only interested in the beauty of the midday landscape with its bright colors and long shadows.
The center of the composition is a round flowerbed with red flowers, on which a tree stands. The depicted woman, who, in theory, is the semantic center of the work, is placed next to the very edge of the picture. The lady serves as the leftmost point from which the compositional diagonal of the work begins, further supported by a tree in the flowerbed and another tree depicted to the right. The rhythm of the composition is set by the verticals of the female figure and both trees, as well as the narrow shadows cast by them on the green of the grass.
In 1867, Camille Donsier, gave birth to the artist’s son Jean, and a little later became his wife. In the same year, the painting “Jean Monet in the Cradle” (private collection) was painted. Here, unlike many paintings by the author, the center of the composition is clearly marked; it is a decorated cradle with a canopy hanging over the head of the bed. We see a mother near the crib – this makes the picture look like genre scenes popular in Dutch painting. However, Camilla’s right shoulder and back are cut off by the edge of the picture, indicating the significance of another character of the work – a son covered in a blanket.
The genre of still life was not Monet’s favorite, but, nevertheless, he addressed him from time to time. The painting "Still Life with Fruits and Grapes" (1867, private collection) is distinguished by a smoother writing style than landscape works by the master. A dull dark background is quite rare in Monet’s canvases, but on it, ripe, even slightly overripe fruits look especially lively and believable. In this work, the artist, as always, is most interested in nature and the effects of light.
But the flowers, the artist who passionately loved them, preferred to paint in nature. Image cut flowers was a rare exception, an example of which is the painting "Flowers and Fruits" (1869, Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, California). Here, the master initially used a dark background, but subsequently abandoned it. Having built a still life, Monet easily cuts a good half of a wicker basket, fruits on the table and sunflower petals, which also violates all the canons of academic painting, whose vocation was always considered to be the image of the object from its best side.
At the beginning of his career, Claude Monet suffered severely from financial difficulties, which almost brought him to suicide. In the 1860s, the poor financial situation of the artist forced him to constantly move from one place to another. Starting in 1869, Monet settled in the Paris suburb of Bougival. Auguste Renoir often came to him here, together they worked a lot in nature, capturing the same views and developing their own painting technique.
Friends peered into the face of nature, noticed even minor changes in lighting and air movement that interested them most. The desire to catch the instantaneous states of an ever-changing nature, living according to its own laws, united young artists. They carefully watched how the same landscapes were transformed depending on the time of day, atmospheric conditions and the nature of the lighting: shadows lengthen and thicken, sun glare plays on leaves and water, and ripples form on the still surface of the river.
In 1869, artists painted their famous paintings of the same name with a view of the cafe on the Seine near Bougival and the pool near it. The paintings were called “The Frog” (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York). In his version of the work, Monet worked out an individual writing technique, a new way of applying strokes, which makes it possible to quickly transfer to the canvas the sensations from what he saw, which critics considered extremely negligent. Indeed, from the point of view of the salon painter, the canvas gives the impression of an unfinished, fluently executed sketch, in which objects are only marked, and quite rudely. There is no idealization characteristic of academic art. But Monet completely consciously avoided this. The artist always wrote what he saw at the moment, trying to “catch” the frozen reality that was frozen for just an instant, and for such a task he needed fast equipment.
Like most impressionists, Monet wrote in pure color, without resorting to mixing colors on a palette. He avoided the shades and midtones adopted in traditional painting. Instead, the artist densely applied strokes of certain colors on the canvas, and in combination, they gave different shades to the perception of the human eye. The idea of such a painting was based on the discoveries of the French physicist Eugene Chevreul in the field of optics. In particular, it was found that the color of objects is not a certain objective fact, but rather depends on the light whose rays are reflected from them. This served as a justification for the complete rejection by the Impressionists of black and their creation of “colored” highlights and shadows on the light surfaces of their canvases.
The painting “Terrace at St. Andress” (1867, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) is distinguished by the absence of a promising construction of a space common for European art. Because of this, it seems that the sea hangs over a sunny terrace. The idea to try to give up the prospect of Monet was submitted by the traditional Japanese painting that became popular in Europe. In the foreground of the picture is a flowering terrace, on which ladies and gentlemen hiding from the hot summer sun under a canopy or umbrellas strolling or just relaxing, sitting in wicker chairs.
Bright flowers will repeatedly appear on Monet’s canvases, becoming, in the end, an independent motive in his later work. In the background is the sea, numerous sailboats on which emphasize the horizon. The sailing boat pictured near the terrace serves as an important guide for the eyes. Without it, the first and second plans of the picture would look too fragmented, which would lead to the disintegration of the composition into two independent and unrelated parts. Clear vertical pillars, arguing with the horizontal construction of the composition, look a little foreign. But this is only a superficial impression, in fact, it is they who “collect” all the work, focusing the attention of the viewer on its central part.
With the start of the Franco-Prussian war in 1870, Monet went to London, where he married Camille that same year. In London, the artist continues to meet with friends and like-minded people and writes urban views with Camille Pissarro.
Two years later, the artist creates his famous work “Impression. Sunrise ”(1872, Marmottan-Monet Museum, Paris). In it, the painter did not try to reproduce reality, did not try to imitate nature, but only conveyed his personal impression of its beauty.
The figures of people in the picture again barely outlined, which was unusual for the viewer, accustomed to the academic style of writing. But the coloristic relationship of pure radiant water and sunrise, which manifests itself in bright reflections on the surface of the sea, is transmitted beautifully.
The artist presented this work at the first impressionist exhibition, held in 1874. Then, Monet and his comrades still called themselves "Anonymous Society of Artists, Painters and Engravers." The painting received sharply negative reviews from critics and spectators, and its name (“Impression”) gave rise to an ironic definition at the time of the new direction of painting – impressionism. The exhibition gained fame only for its deafening failure.
We will return in 1872, when Monet and his family moved to the town of Argenteuil, near Paris. Friends came to him here again – Sisley, Eduard Manet and Renoir. The artist’s paintings were still not for sale, but the inheritance inherited from his father was able to slightly increase the material well-being of his family. Here, in Argenteuil, Monet set up a “floating workshop” for himself. He traveled in a boat on the Seine, freely capturing the views he liked and continuing to study the effects of lighting through the reflexes of sunlight on the water.
In 1873, Monet creates the painting “Field of Poppies at Argenteuil” (Museum d’Orsay, Paris), depicting Camille and little Jean Monet drowning in field grass. The diagonal construction of the composition creates a sense of movement. In the foreground and in the background are two pairs consisting of a mother and a child, which are located on the diagonal, supported by a barely noticeable path, underlined only by a strip of poppies. Both pairs are written from the same models. The work perfectly demonstrates the skillful composition of the composition using color.
In the same year, the painting “Kaputsin Boulevard” (1873, Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow) was also painted, in which the influence of the art of photography is clearly felt. The picture, conveying an instant from life filled with passers-by and crews of the city boulevard, resembles a snapshot. People in it play only a secondary role, and the main one is assigned to the atmosphere of the contemporary artist of the city.
The obvious influence of photography is noticeable in the compositional construction of the painting “Saint-Denis Street on the National Day” (1878, Art Museum, Rouen). The rhythm of the composition is set by blue-white-red strokes of many national banners, exhibited, like bayonets, from balconies and window openings of houses. The work, like a reportage shot, captured the life of the city during the holiday.
Moreover, the painter is not at all interested in celebrating people. Unlike Delacroix and his work Freedom on the Barricades, Monet did not portray the group in a spectacular setting. The artist needed the city itself, its face and atmosphere reigning on a holiday. The streets are inhabited only by staff figures – sketched dark silhouettes suppressed by stone walls.
But the most beloved models for the artist remained his adored wife and little son. Brushes Monet owns a wonderful work “Camille Monet with her son Jean” (alternative name “Lady with an Umbrella”, 1875, National Gallery of Art, Washington). Despite the static poses of the heroes, the picture is full of movement: clouds are sweeping across the sky, and a light dress and a veil on a young woman’s hat are developing in the wind.
A striking example of the influence of oriental art on the artist’s work is his world-famous painting “Japanese Girl” (1876, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston). On it, Camilla, dressed in a bright red kimono, stands against a gray wall decorated with Japanese paper fans. The work is extremely decorative, the traditional Japanese attire completely hides the body shape of a woman, and the composition is completely devoid of depth and approaches a flat drawing. As always, Monet avoids the clear contours of objects: the figure of his wife, a Japanese, depicted on the fabric of a kimono and a fan on the wall behind the woman’s back, are written more in color than in a line, which creates an additional impression of flatness of work. An interesting point in the compositional solution is that the figures of the Japanese on the kimono and the heroine of the picture are deployed in exactly opposite directions, balancing each other.
The most important place for the contemporary artist of Paris was Saint-Lazare station. The master dedicated several paintings to him, written in 1877. The station created the fate of people, connecting the capital of France with other cities and even countries. Life was always in full swing here: passengers arrived and drove away, locomotives were buzzing, trains were picking up speed and carried off into the distance.
It was this exciting atmosphere of the new industrial life that the artist sought to show in his canvases. “Station Saint-Lazare. Arrival of the train ”(1877, Fogg Museum of Art, Harvard) perfectly reflects the daily life of the station. The work uses almost monochrome painting, the selected unusual angle, perfectly conveys the features of the solution of the architectural vault of the station.
Soon, two of the most important events for the artist took place in his family: in 1878, his beloved wife gave birth to his second son, Michel, after which Camilla herself became seriously ill. Monet is again experiencing serious financial difficulties. Neither the public nor the critics have yet “matured” to the correct perception of his style in art. The painter was forced to leave Argenteuil and settle in Vetej, where his neighbor was businessman Ernest Goshede and his wife Alice, who was later destined to become the second wife of the painter.
The artist conveyed his impressions of the move in the painting “The Road to Vethey in Winter” (1879, the Art Museum, Gothenburg), where he depicted a typical winter landscape in France: a dirt road covered with snow, hills with brownish-brown soil showing through loose snow and frozen green grass, a church, two-story houses built into the gentle slopes of the hills on both sides of the road. Only the figures of the two travelers enliven the landscape a little.
The painting "On the banks of the Seine near Vetheya" (1880, National Gallery, Washington), painted in the summer of next year, is both simple and lyrical. The entire foreground of the picture is occupied by flowering meadow grasses, behind which you can see the mirror surface of the river. The artist masterfully conveyed the sky reflected in the river with clouds floating on it and the trees standing on the opposite bank. The coastal bushes and separately growing trees in the background of the picture are as if shrouded in a bluish-grayish haze from gray clouds shading them.
The unusually bright and sunny landscape on the canvas "Blossoming Apple Trees" (1879, Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest) impresses with the workshop’s light transmission – the depicted landscape seems to bathe in the sunshine that floods the entire surrounding space.
The composition of the picture is again very simple, in the foreground are blossoming trees of the apple orchard and grass under them, in the second we see houses with red roofs half-hidden behind the branches of trees, and the background is occupied by a rising hill. A few apple trees, pushed close to the lower edge of the work, serve as the right side scenes and the only vertical on the horizontal composition, as if “collecting” all the work.
In the same 1879, at the age of only thirty-two years, Monet’s beloved wife died of a serious illness. A grief-stricken artist, she paints her portrait of Camille on her Deathbed, in which he portrayed his wife in his own manner, emphasizing with color how her face loses its vital colors.
Paradoxically, it is in this year of bereavement in his personal life that professional success comes to the artist. Positive comments and comments appeared in the Paris press about the exhibition of his works, which immediately began to be sold. This improved the financial situation of the painter.
In 1883, he will rent a small but very cozy house in Giverny near Paris, next to which a magnificent garden is set up, verified as a painting, taking into account the individual color and flowering time of each plant. Later, Monet buys out additional territory near the house to create another stunning garden on it, in which there was a pond with water lilies and a Japanese bridge with winding paths leading to it. This place will be the subject of his paintings until his death, along with the idea of creating many separate series of works in which the artist embodied his many years of study of the visual possibilities of color in the transmission of various lighting. In these work cycles, the painter clearly depicted how the same motive changes depending on how it is lit. Need to say,all series enjoyed tremendous success with the public.
An unpretentious rural view in the painting “Haystack in Giverny” (1886, the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg) has become one of the artist’s favorite motifs. The landscape, the compositional center of which was a haystack standing in the foreground, is complemented by houses and trees visible in the far fields.
In 1888, Monet will create a series of 25 works dedicated to this species. Moreover, the surrounding landscape on the canvases will become more and more arbitrary, the division into compositional plans will practically disappear, and the haystack will acquire an independent role, as if concentrating in itself such a conceptual center of being. The main role in all the paintings is given to the color, which seeks to convey the entire spectrum of variable light. During the day, the artist worked on several canvases that convey different lighting conditions: morning, afternoon and evening – this was the originality of the painter’s method, which laid the foundation for another series – “Poplars”. Mirror symmetry, on the principle of which the composition of the work “Poplars at Ept” (1891, the National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh) is built presents two realities to the viewer:a real poplar grove on the banks of the river and its reflection in the mirror surface of the water, only slightly rippled by ripples. The river completely incorporates all the colors with which the trees are full, the sky with pinkish clouds floating on it. The trepidation of the water surface is emphasized by the nature of the strokes of the painter.
The largest cycle dedicated to the Rouen Cathedral was started by Claude Monet in 1892. For two years, the artist completed 50 paintings, which consistently depicted the Gothic facade of the cathedral at different times of the day: from early morning to late evening. Sunlight creates stunning metamorphoses not only with the color of the cathedral, but also with its stone essence. The wall that has stood for several centuries, thanks to the light that floods it and the gothic architecture of the openwork, seems almost weightless and miraculous. The rays of the sun seem to dissolve the stone power of the cathedral, penetrating into it with different intensities.
Thanks to the mastery of Monet’s brush, the cathedral seems to cease to be a material substance and becomes airy and ephemeral. It is as if it ceases to be an earthly creation and merges with heaven. Was this the effect of the architects of the distant Middle Ages, raising the stone lace of church walls to heaven? Perhaps Monet penetrated the very heart of the conceptual idea of Gothic art. The cycle "Rouen Cathedral" was exhibited by the artist in 1895 and was very successful.
Simultaneously with the start of work on the cycle, Claude Monet will marry Alice Goshed. The painter begins to travel a lot, he works in Italy, the gothic cathedrals of which he finds incredibly impressionistic, Normandy, Switzerland and Holland.
In Normandy, the master gave birth to magnificent seascapes, such as the painting Mannport (1883, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York), as if glorifying the grandeur of the water element. Also, the artist often worked on the image of picturesque rocks near the town of Egret, which were the main attraction of this area, because of its unique shape created by the whim of the waves.
Mannport is perhaps the most famous rock arch. To convey the scale of rock formation, the painter quickly outlines with a few strokes a couple of figures under the arches of a stone arch, the bulk of which, powerfully protruding from the left edge of the picture, is literally ready to crush them. The composition of the work contributes to the creation of such an impression: the effect of the infinity of the stone surface is emphasized by the artist in that the entire rock does not fit into the frame of the picture.
A riot of color and pointlessness
The expressive ability of color, throughout the artist’s career, was the main means of his artistic language. Claude Monet remained faithful to himself until the very end, never turning off the chosen path and only improving and honing the expressiveness of the techniques of his individual style. The only difference in the late period of his work was the craving for pointlessness, blurring the concept of a specific plot and form. The artist did not consider one of his best creations to be a painting at all, but the garden he created at the house in Giverny, where he picked up and planted numerous types and varieties of flowers so that the garden would constantly bloom, delighting the painter’s eye with a variety of shades. The magnificent garden, in fact, also a work of art, has become a favorite object of the master’s painting, finding its countless reflections on the canvas.
The canvas "Garden of Irises in Giverny" (1899, Yale University Art Gallery) again shows us a very simple composition. A square-format canvas depicts a path that runs into the depths of the garden, half-hidden by overgrown bushes of irises, and above it you can see trunks of garden trees that create a long-term perspective.
The artist puts on the canvas as if exulting, pure, bright colors, conveying to the viewer his sense of happiness and fullness of life, born from contact with nature. The beautiful and delicate flowers of irises in the foreground seem to look into our eyes. The master’s skillful hand seems to breathe soul into them, and the beauty of the surrounding nature becomes the greatest miracle, the personification of the crown of divine creations. It is this attitude to nature, which is a sufficient object of painting in the works of Claude Monet, distinguishes the artist from adherents of the academic style, in which only man has always been the “crown of creation”.
One of Monet’s most famous series “Water Lilies” was launched in 1899. In the works of the cycle, the painter depicts water lilies (nenufaras) floating in the pond of his garden in Giverny. The artist himself grew these delicate flowers in his pond and admired them for a long time, enjoying the glare of the sun on fragile petals and the reflection of clouds in the water. It seems unbelievable, but the water lilies owned the heart of a talented artist until his death, about twenty years. The seriality of the work is based on the variation of this motive under various lighting conditions.
Created in 1903, the work “Water Lilies. Clouds ”(private collection) gives rise to a strikingly joyful impression. The canvas is saturated with sunlight, despite the fact that the sky is present only in its reflection in the water. It seems as if water lilies and clouds are slowly floating on the same surface, as if driven by a light breath of air.
The square form of the canvas in the work “A Pond with Water Lilies” (1908, private collection, St. Gallen, Switzerland) visually enlarges the image in space, giving the impression of infinity. Monet used the effect of photography, as if carving a separate fragment from the water surface of a pond and writing it in close-up. Only the expanse of water with leaves, flowers of water lilies and reflected clouds, picturesquely scattered on its surface, fell into the frame.
Here, the master again departed from the perspective construction of the painting, because of which the water lilies located in the upper right corner of the composition are closer to the viewer than the foreground plants of the painting. Thanks to this technique, the painting loses its depth and, as it were, unfolds on a plane, becoming more decorative.
Since the 1870s, Claude Monet has repeatedly visited England, he loved London for its unique foggy atmosphere. And from about 1900, the painter began to come here more often. He creates here a series of works dedicated to the parliament building.
The painting “The Parliament Building in London” (1904, d’Orsay Museum, Paris) depicts an architectural object as if shrouded in dense fog. Only in some places the yellow-red sun breaks through the little thought, highlighting fragments of the majestic outlines of neo-Gothic architecture and staining the broad Thames with reddish-purple flare. The style of painting is very arbitrary, the artist depicts not specific elements, but a momentary image of the city itself, such as he just saw it.
Monet’s impressionism is not intended to convey objective reality; he does not recognize the constancy of the qualities of objects. Their whole appearance, color and shape depend only on the light, which is barely breaking through, then floods the entire neighborhood, or even goes out, turning into twilight. In the spring of 1908, Claude Monet and his family went to Venice. The delightful atmosphere of this city, its water expanses, surprisingly successfully beaten by Venetian architects, the reflexes of light on the water and the monuments reflected in it, captivated the painter. Thus was born a series of Venetian landscapes, written directly during the trip.
The work “Palazzo da Mula in Venice” (1908, National Gallery, Washington), written there, can hardly be called a guided or architectural landscape. Rather, it is, figuratively speaking, a "portrait" of a medieval Venetian building, "looking" in the mirror of the canal in front of it. Moreover, this “portrait” was painted in close-up, the sides of the palace are cut off by the frame of the picture, only the middle part of the building without a roof fell on the canvas.
Such an unusual composition is explained very simply, Monet was not going to copy an architectural monument at all, he was as unimportant for him as the figures of people on most of his canvases. The artist was captivated by the surprisingly harmonious unity of architecture and landscape, designed by a brilliant architect who conceived the palace, as if emerging from the water. A horizontal composition with a clear division into the front (space of water) and rear (walls of the palazzo, dotted with numerous arches of door and window openings) plans are balanced by a pair of thin silhouettes of gondolas.
Venice impressed the artist with the unity of life of the buildings and canals on the banks of which they were erected. Impressionistic harmony, formed by stone walls reflected in the water, which the same water that absorbs sunlight, paints with numerous reflections of heavenly shades, won the heart of the painter. It was this state that he tried to convey on his Venetian canvases.
Loneliness and loss
The second decade of the new century was marked for the artist by a series of losses. In 1911, Alice’s second wife died, three years later, in 1914, his eldest son, Jean, dies. Monet was faithfully looked after only by Alice’s daughter from her first marriage, who was Jean’s wife.
Together with a series of deaths of relatives, the painter suffered another misfortune – double cataract. Evil rock took away from the artist the main thing that he devoted his whole life to being able to see and study the lighting effects, glare and reflexes of the sun’s rays, seen in nature. However, Monet did not stop, he continued to create his work. Four years later, after his diagnosis, the artist conceived a new series of impressive panels measuring 2x4 meters with images of his garden.
The panel “Water Lilies” (“Nenufaras”, 1920-1926, the Museum of the Greenhouse, Paris) gives the impression of the flatness of an endless space, as if extending far beyond the frames of the picture. Juicy, large strokes of the master only outline the shape of the leaves and flowers, the whole picture is executed using the technique of color spots.
A little earlier, in 1917, Claude Monet wrote his "Self-Portrait" (Museum of the Greenhouse, Paris). The picture is a person’s self-esteem reproduced through reflection in the mirror of one’s own consciousness. Tired eyes of the master do not look at the viewer, although he turned to face him. The artist is not looking for "dialogue." At first glance, the work seems unfinished: only the artist’s head is depicted, and the shoulder line is outlined schematically. However, the thick shadow that borders the portrait saturates the image with drama and leaves no doubt about its completeness.
At the end of his career, Monet began to mix subject and non-objective art. In his 1918 work, The Japanese Bridge (Institute of Arts, Minneapolis), one can only read the outline of the artist’s favorite bridge, twisted with wisteria and thrown over a pond with water lilies, a low bush in the foreground and a tree at the right edge of the canvas. Everything else is just an extravagant riot of colors, beauty and fullness of life.
The painting “Garden with a Pond in Giverny” (circa 1920, the Museum of Fine Arts, Grenoble) presents us with a mysterious corner of the artist’s garden, hidden in dense thickets. The work, of course, is substantive: a clearly constructed composition is visible here, the outlines of the branches are clearly distinguishable. It seems that in the work the color plays an independent, it is emphasized decorative in the refraction of the dying view of the painter. Thanks to unrealistic conditional color rendering, the picture makes a dramatic impression. Color is unusually expressive. This is no longer impressionism in its purest form, the writing technique and artistic conception are more likely a reflection of the inner world of an aging person.
The great artist, one of the founders of Impressionism, who conquered the world, Claude Monet died in December 1926 in his house in Giverny. Cezanne at one time exclaimed: "Monet is just an eye, but, my God, what a thing!" The painting of the French artist is an endless enthusiastic admiration for nature, the beauty and perfection of which he was able to convey in a special, unique, subtle and sensual style.