Claude Monet: Grainstack (Sunset)
Claude Monet's Grainstack (Sunset) is the painting I chose from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Monet was an impressionist painter in France, and did most of his work at his home at Giverny. Impressionism got its name from a painting that Monet painted, Impression Sunrise. Impressionist paintings are put into a category based on characteristics such as light that draws attention to objects, rough textures, and visual pleasure that the viewer receives upon looking at the paintings. Impressionist paintings are art for arts sake and focus on leisure and nature. These paintings are generally the most well known and popular paintings because of their attractive appearance.
The Grainstack (Sunset) was painted between 1890 and 1891, and is a part of Monet?s first true series paintings. During the time of this series was painted, there was a lot of unrest going on in Europe. Many of the major cities were experiencing industrial growth, and it was causing the people to suffer from a magnitude of social problems.
There were high rates of suicide, and anarchist groups. Over the years to follow, 1889 to 1894, there were at least 600 strikes involving 120,000 workers. There were bombings, raids, and wide spread fear across the country. It was during this time period that Monet was going to establish himself as one of the major painters of the country.
As the viewer looks at this painting, they are taken into a rural scene. You notice first the grainstack as the major object in the painting. As you move around the painting, there are many striking areas of light. The sunset causes a brilliant display of colors around the scene. The sky is fading in the background as the sun sunsets.
There is a small amount of blue still hanging in the sky, and under that a large portion of a yellow hue from the sun setting. As the suns sets further it cause a pink color above the land. The sunset has cause the grainstacks color to darken. You can see that the light left in the scene is on the other side of the stack. There is a shadow cast of the back side, making the stacks top dark brown, and the bottom a dark red.
The rural scene in the Grainstack (Sunset), as well as the other grainstacks in his series paintings, all basically share many of the same characteristics. The haystacks are never overwhelmed by light. As in the Grainstack (Sunset), the stack holds it own in the painting. The light simply draws attention to the painting to it. The conical top and body of the stack are outlined by the light and make it the focus of the painting.
It is very rare for the stacks to be alone. At first glance in the painting they are hard to notice, but when the viewer looks closer at the painting there is a row of farmhouses in the background of the painting. The farmhouse to the farthest right part of the painting is the largest. They decrease in size until the middle house and then begin to get larger again. These farmhouses...