Term Paper: Claude Monet Is Widely Recognized

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[. . .] Perhaps the biggest break from classical art tradition is the lack of a smooth finish to this work. Even a cursory look at the painting would reveal the brushstrokes and dabs that Monet used to capture the scene. While critics during the time saw this as an example of a loose and undisciplined brush technique, Monet used his swift brushstrokes to capture the illusion of light and movement. As a result, in addition to seeing a woman with a parasol, a person viewing the painting also gets an impression of the floating clouds and the rustling of the grass.

Later Work

In 1883, Monet moved his family to Giverny, where he stayed for the next 43 years. He purchased a house in 1890 and began work on a garden that would figure prominently in his later works (Tucker 145).

Throughout this time, Monet continued painting works that further challenged the prevailing tenets of classical painting. In 1891, he painted the Haystacks series, which were now devoid of human subjects. Instead, these paintings featured haystacks in various stages of the day. Often, the subjects themselves were located off-center and far into the background. However, the Monet was successful in achieving more than a visual effect with these paintings. Again, the viewer gets the "impression" of wind blowing through the fields and of the declining warmth caused as the sun set.

In 1900, Monet painted several views of the Japanese bridge at his Giverny garden. In several of these paintings, Monet showed classical elements, such as painting centering the bridge and maintaining a balanced composition on both sides. However, he also used quick brushstrokes in order to capture the effect of the lilies as they floated under the bridge.

Though they were had different subjects, the Haystacks and Japanese Bridge series also showed a key modernist aspect that Monet shared with his Impressionist contemporaries. Even though their landscapes often did not have human subjects, Monet always added elements or evidence of a human presence (Tucker 164). In Impression: Sunrise, he put sailboats. The Giverny paintings often included bridges, paths or other subtle evidences of a human hand.

Monet began to have his first eyesight problems in 1907. By 1916, he built a large studio at Giverny and went back to creating the large canvases that characterized his early paintings. For the next 10 years, Monet worked on the 12 large canvases that would become known as The Water Lilies series. Now a famed painter, Monet's Water Lilies were to be installed in a specifically designed architectural space at Paris' Orangerie Museum (Merill 133).

Despite an operation that improved his sight, Monet still suffered from significant eyesight problems. However, he continued to paint features of his estate and to work on the Water Lilies. Perhaps more than any other of his paintings, the Water Lilies were the greatest expressions of the interplay of light, reflection and color portrayed through a mass of brushstrokes. Many art experts ascribe these creations as a result of Monet's failing eyesight. Because he was forced to examine his subjects up close, Monet painted larger canvasses that verged on abstract art (Tucker 137).


In conclusion, by challenging both the technique and subject matter of classical painting traditions, Monet and the Impressionists also helped to spark the modernist art movement. Their use of color, "unfinished" brushstrokes," and un-idealized portrayal of nature helped pave the way for later artists such as Vincent van Gogh.

His emphasis on color and light and on providing a viewer with a myriad of impressions laid the foundations of Abstract Impressionism. His influence can be seen in abstract artists as diverse as Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning.

By breaking from both the subject and technique of classical painting, Monet has provided the art world with a new way of depicting the world. More important, he had also provided the public with a new way of experiencing work of art, through "impressions" as well as visuals.

Works Cited

Adams, Steve. The Barbizon School and the Origins of Impressionism. New York: Phaedon Press, 1999.

Hodge, Susie. Claude Monet: Artists in their Time. Philadelphia: Franklin Watts, 2002.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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