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Claude Oscar Monet's Water Lilies Located At The Carnegie Museum Of Art

1615 words - 7 pages

Following my exquisite trip to the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I have chosen to discuss Claude Oscar Monet's Water Lilies. Water Lilies is actually a series of roughly two-hundred fifty separate, but very similar, paintings of water lilies; however, I have chosen to focus on the one located at the Carnegie Museum of Art (“Water Lilies”). This painting caught my eye when we were focusing on Impressionism and Expressionism in class and I immediately recognized the painting when I saw it in the Carnegie Museum. Impressionism has always been one of my favorite styles of painting and Water Lilies reliably invokes a very calm reaction from me each time I look at the ...view middle of the document...

The painting uses choppy, blurred brush strokes and there are no hard lines in this painting. The entire painting appears as though the viewer is seeing the world through tear-filled eyes.
Claude Oscar Monet painted Water Lilies between the years of 1915 and 1926. Born in 1840, Monet spent his childhood in Normandy, France and “was a key figure in the Impressionist movement that transformed French painting in the second half of the nineteenth century” (Auricchio). “Claude Monet will probably always be regarded as the great leader in [the] modern and latest phase known as Impressionism” (Desmond FitzGerald). For the duration of Monet's career, he “consistently depicted the landscape and leisure activities of Paris and its environs as well as the Normandy coast” (Auricchio). In 1874, when Monet was thirty-four year old, he displayed some of his works in an independent exhibition that he founded with other Impressionist painters of the time, including Auguste Renoir. The painting “Impressionism: Sunrise... drew particular scorn for unfinished appearance of its loose handling and indistinct forms” (Auricchio). Despite the unwavering criticism, Monet and Renoir saw [it] as a badge of honor, and subsequently called themselves “Impressionists”” (Auricchio). The painting Impressionism: Sunrise is responsible for naming the successive Impressionism movement (“Impressionism”). Monet's paintings featured “his immediate surroundings, as he painted the people and places he knew best” (Auricchio). He painted around the places he lived and traveled to in northern France and London as well as the people he knew and loved, including his wives.
Impressionism features characteristics “[including] relatively small, thin, yet visible brush strokes, open composition, emphasis on the accurate depiction of light in its changing qualities (often accentuating the effects of the passage of time), ordinary subject matter, the inclusion of movement as a crucial element of human perception and experience, and unusual visual angles” (“Impressionism”). Water Lilies exhibits every single one of these characteristics of Impressionism. The brush strokes in Water Lilies are thin, the composition is open, and light plays a major role in this piece as well as every other piece in the Water Lilies series. The series as a whole beautifully displays the passage of time with varying light on the lilies throughout each of the pieces in the collection. Water lilies themselves are relatively ordinary, everyday subject matter, but Monet paints them in a way that makes them seem as though the viewer is seeing them for the first time. Looking at the painting, the viewer cannot tell exactly where Monet is positioned to see the water lilies, but it can be assumed that he is either standing on a bridge or on the bank near the trees; the angle Monet uses in conjunction with the brush stroke style creates a sense of movement and the viewer can almost see the ripples in the water.
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