Claude Monet And Nature Essay

2354 words - 9 pages

Claude Monet was born in Paris in 1840 and would become known as one of France’s famous painters. Monet is often attributed with being the leading figure of the style of impressionism; but this was not always the case. Monet started out his career as a caricaturist, showing great skill. Eventually “Monet began to accompany [Eugène] Boudin as the older artist . . . worked outdoors, . . . this “truthful” painting, Monet later claimed, had determined his path as an artist.” Monet’s goal took off as his popularity grew in the mid 1870s after he switched from figure painting to the landscape impressionist style. William Seitz supports this statement through his quote, “The landscapes Monet painted at Argenteuil between 1872 and 1877 are his best-known, most popular works, and it was during these years that impressionism most closely approached a group style. Here . . . he painted the sparkling impressions of French river life that so delight us today” such as The Riverbank at Petit-Gennevilliers, Sunset. When impressionism began to approach a group style, it allowed for the movement to gain notoriety, which ultimately led to Monet’s recognition in the art community as a skilled painter. In order to produce his captivating landscapes pieces, Monet took advantage of the nature that surrounded him, ultimately allowing him to produce his awe-inspiring pieces. Monet was able to succeed in his mission in becoming one of the greatest painters in history by producing nature inspired landscape scenes such as Red Boats, Argenteuil, Arrival of the Normandy Train, the Magpie, the Train in the Countryside, and the Riverbank at Petit-Gennevilliers, Sunset.
In “Why Monet Gave up Figure Painting”, Anne Wagner uses Monet’s painting of Le Dejeuner, The Luncheon produced in 1868 to base her argument as to the reasoning behind Monet’s style change. Le Dejeuner proved to be of one of the more daunting pieces for Monet. Wagner claims that Le Dejeuner was so difficult for Monet to produce because she regards the piece “as among the most “personal” of Monet’s career” . The tremendous personalization of Le Dejeuner argued by Wagner is supported by the identifications of the models used to create the figures portrayed in the scene. One of the models used include Monet’s son Jean, who is depicted as the baby; Doncieux, Monet’s wife and mother to his son was, strangely enough, depicted as the visitor, while a neighbor posed as her true role; the mother. The use of such personal characters can be attributed to Monet’s attempt “to secure the psychic space necessary to look at his models and paint his picture”3. Wagner is referencing the emotional conflicts Monet suffered which were onset through his depictions of recurrent scenes of everyday life and when he was, in a sense, forced to stare at the models before him for extended periods of time.
It seems as if Monet attempted to cover up his method in coping with his ailments through Doncieux’s placement of...

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