Saturday Art: Claude Monet
Another summer day, good for staying inside and the National Gallery of Art has a lot to offer. Today we will visit the person who gave the name of impressionism to that painting style, with the use of ‘impression’ in the title of one of his works.
Disillusioned with the traditional art taught at art schools, in 1862 Monet became a student ofCharles Gleyre in Paris, where he met Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Frédéric Bazille andAlfred Sisley. Together they shared new approaches to art, painting the effects of light en plein air with broken color and rapid brushstrokes, in what later came to be known as Impressionism.
Monet is probably the best known impressionist painter. His many studies feature familiar objects in many different times and qualities of light.
In 1923, he underwent two operations to remove his cataracts: the paintings done while the cataracts affected his vision have a general reddish tone, which is characteristic of the vision of cataract victims. It may also be that after surgery he was able to see certain ultravioletwavelengths of light that are normally excluded by the lens of the eye; this may have had an effect on the colors he perceived. After his operations he even repainted some of these paintings, with bluer water lilies than before.
The way of seeing things concerns Monet far more than their actual depiction. Painting was changed by the concept of impressionism, and strict representation was no longer the standard of those following him and his fellows.