Claude Monet's Beauties of Nature – Term Paper

1. Introduction

Being an impressionist at a time when realism was the predominant movement made Monet a queer man because the impressionist’s art was mainly about combining thousands of colors to express thoughts, ideas, nature, and the general surroundings. Just because he did not like using too much gray and black colors made the realism artists view him as a dissenter and rejected his work such as Women in the Garden (1866). Claude Monet was my natural choice because his first work which was considered a sketch marked the beginning of a paradigm shift in the art movement. His departure from the realism movement makes his a unique figure and his works provide an interesting perspective about the artwork. This paper seeks to argue that Claude Monet was a key figure in the Impressionist movement that defined how nature was perceived on a canvas.

2). Background of Claude Monet

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The French painter Oscar-Claude Monet (14 November 1840 – 5 December 1926) is the father of the Impressionist movement. While he was raised in Normandy, his plain air painting technique can be attributed to the tutelage of  Eugene Boudin  who was known for the large-scale painting of “sunset on the beach” his collaborative work with a landscapists known as Johan Jongkind (1819–1891) may have aroused a further interest in unique landscape painting. When he joined Charles Gleyre, Auguste Renoir, and Frédéric Bazille in a studio in Paris, his work was accepted for exhibition in various annual salons, but most of his artworks were rejected because they departed from the conventional realism style. He was among the first people who established the impression exhibition which was independent of the dominant realism movement (Lane et al. 734).

2a).The application of shade and light

To evoke a sense of energy and light, Monet combined different bright colors on a gray canvas background. He never used the black color but the dark hue by adding white color or dark color because shades tend to recede while light tends to advance. Shades were used by the artist to create depth or distance while the light was used to depict nearness to objects on the foreground or daylight.

2b). The application of contour line

Monet used the contour lines to depict the surface or edge of the subject matter. Most of the artworks had non-interrupted lines to depict the outline or shape of the objects. The contour lines may have also been used differently to create depth and texture, as well as direction. Some of this work involved jagged, smooth or curved as determined by the brushstrokes. His combined both short and long brush strokes which may be thick or thin (Stapleton 111-111)

2c). The application of color

His works were mostly employed pure light colors. His argument was that the most important thing about the colors he used was to know how to use the colors because his choice was a result of his habit of using white lead, cadmium yellow, vermilion, madder, cobalt blue and chrome green (Tucker 123-126).  The impressionists’ movement was founded on the belief that a landscape may not exist it its right because it has to change with the seasons, but the light, the atmosphere, and the air in the surrounding is what defines the true value of a landscape.

2d). Express the change of value of light and color

Claude Monet’s works may have  involved a combination of many bright colors, but one thing that makes them unique to the impressionism movement is that his work on the beauty of nature involved smaller, think but clearly visible brush strokes. Monet loved the open compositions which include arranging visual elements indistinct from the other objects in the canvas. For example, Claude Monet’s Impression, Soleil Levant (Impression, Sunrise), done in the year 1872, using oil on canvas, Mus;e Marmottan Monet is a good example of the open composition style. His use of nature light and the subsequent depiction of the light source and shadow show how accurate his depiction of nature over various time of the day was. For example, in the Impression, Soleil Levant, he depicted at in various qualities by simply accentuating the effects of light as time changed based on the series paintings. His mastery of abstraction was mainly advanced but his use of the freely brushed colors, lines, and contour in the landscape. ;His work employed the transient effects of light on the color of objects indicate depth. ;His interest in the visual effects [particularly overshadowed the details in art as his use of light involved expressing in an array of bright colors

3. Appreciation of Monet;s works

3a). Water Lily Pond (1899)

The water lily pond was mainly oil on canvas painting depicting the relatable view in his compound at home. His focus was on the water lily and two bridges in the background. He combined varying shades of green to depict the nature in still-life form. His use of light in the painting was keenly enhanced by the genius of his brushwork and colors. He, however, limited shade to in the painting because he wanted the shade to portray the darkness. His use of varying tones of light to create depth like in the leaf foliage in the background where shade is used to create a darker image. The bright green in the foreground depicts nearness to light. His didn;t use the dark and brown colors but instead used a mix of cool ours to create a sense of shade.

3b). Woman with a Parasol – Madame Monet and Her Son: 1875

The oil on canvas painting was done in Argenteuil to depict the future of a women and son presumably his wife and son. The picture of a casual family outdoor was made by combining pose and placement in composition. The patterns created by animated brushstrokes combine with vibrant colors created depth and distance. It is clear from the silhouetted hill of green foliage that the spring season was on as the bright sunlight from the background can be seen based on the direction of Camille;s shadow and shiny white parasol. The sun in the background based on the depth and shadow as the painter used the light color, shades, and darkness. Then again the grass and the yellow foliage are created using short, quick but strong strokes of different sizes.

3c). ;Impression Sunrise, Claude Monet, 1873.

The work clearly depicts Monet;s artistic genius as the sun is strategically set against a dawn in the countryside. From the painting, one can see the dark orange colors sets against a gray background. The numerous vibrant sunrays cover the undulating landscapes in the background and water body in the foreground. The artists did not use contrast but used loose brushstrokes to create a hazy vision of the sunrise. The gray layers created a variation of tones and the sky, and the water has been created to look like they are almost meeting to create a glooming opalescent of oneness. The accents of orange on a blue and gray background juxtapose the sun;s rays on both the water and the sky.

4. The distinguishing features of Claude Monet;s works

a). Catch the differences of nature in different time, different season, different environment and weather.

Monet wanted to create a sequential image or picture of the surrounding. He started to concentrate on painting series pictures from 1890. In most of his works, same objects were captured at varying times of the days with lights, shadow, and tone changing from one picture to another. For example, in his water lilies painting of 1899, water lilies were painted in the morning, mid-morning, noon, and late afternoon with variation in light, tone, hue and varying the brush strokes and color combination. One could easily depict from the tonal variation that the images were painted at different times of the day based on the different lights. The Monet;s sequence, the light seems to change to white and dark colors become increasingly pure white. This is the same technique used in Waterlillies, Blue Sky, Sta Maria de la Salute, The Regatta at Argenteuil (1873), La Cathedrale de Rouen (1893), and The Artist’s Garden at Giverny (1900). Most of his works involve light, radiant and strong color and brushstrokes which can only be related to his works in the impressionism movement.

b). How to show the moment about the changing of light and color/the importance of light and color in painting

Color priority in the impressionists’ movement can be considered to the at the center of the movement’s value system. For example, Monet preferred the color priority because the value priority exaggerated their value contracts that eventually developed the illusion of light and created a sense of drama. However, Monet considered his artwork his strong color priority to create a strong impression of light but used the only color. He used the pure color to depict the intensity of light.  His coloristic identity was mainly maintained in the middle range as his colors were between the two extremes of too dark or too light.

c). How to show the personal emotion in painting

To show the personal emotion in painting, the Impressionists used more saturated colors as this was the most effective way to evoke sensations the illusion of light is much more depending on color than on value, and that is why Monet used more vivid and saturated colors in his works. For example, lighter values are used in most of his work to depict the shadows. Additionally, warm yellow colors can be used to create a happy environment. Yellow colors are warm and can easily evoke or radiate happy feeling associated with hope and joy. On the other hand, emotions such as sadness can be created by using cool colors in monochrome tones of blue. Blue is mainly used in hospitals to create a sense of sadness associated with a low psychological state. Cool colors such as blue can be used to evoke a sense of sadness or despair.

5. Conclusion

While this paper was mainly based on Claude Monet’s artwork, and his role in the development and advancement of the impressionism movement, it is quite clear that there are other [people artists who inspired his work. The paper has not included the works of the realism movement artists from whom Monet borrowed the art and sense of brush stroke.  Probably future research should analyze how another artist in the realism movement may have influenced his choice of brush strokes. Because Monet and his friends were the first rebels to have abandoned the conventional realism movement to form an independent art exhibition for their impressionism movement, anyone would easily appreciate his effort and learn about the uniqueness of artist. As artists, it is important to learn that art does not have to conform to the norms such as rules, conventional thought systems or culture. An artist must be able to chart his course and create a movement or initiate a public discourse.

Works cited

Kuang, Lee. "Appreciation To Impression Sunrise”. Sooper Articles. N.p., 2013. Web. 27 June 2016.

Lane, Russell et al. "Claude Monet’s Vision”. The Lancet 349.9053 (1997): 734. Web.

Stapleton, Scott. "Observation And Reflection: Claude Monet Joel Isaacson Monet’s Years At Giverny: Beyond Impressionism Harry N. Abrams”. ARLIS/NA Newsletter6.6 (1978): 111-111. Web.

Stecyk, Griff. "Woman With A Parasol – Madame Monet And Her Son [Claude Monet]”. Sartle – See Art Differently. N.p., 2015. Web. 27 June 2016.

Tucker, Paul Hayes. Claude Monet. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995. Print.

Wettlaufer, Alexandra k. “Richard M. Berrong. Putting Monet And Rembrandt Into Words: Pierre Loti’s Recreation And Theorization Of Claude Monet’s Impressionism And Rembrandt’s Landscapes In Literature . Chapel Hill: U Of North Carolina P, 2013. 197 Pp.”. Symposium: A Quarterly Journal in Modern Literatures 69.4 (2015): 228-230. Web.