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Realism & Impressionism Essay

874 words - 3 pages

The Zuiderkerk, Amsterdam: looking up to the Groenburgwal is a painting by the french
painter Claude Monet. In this piece Monet depicts the landscape of a small town with a church
taking a central position in the background. The buildings bordering the canvas give a sense of
symmetry and harmony as the figures of people seem to head toward their place of worship. The
second work, by the french artist Gustave Courbet, is a very dramatic and well balanced
depiction entitled Marine. In this artwork it is easy to sense his inspiration from the Romanticism
artistic movement. By adding a theatrical scene and through the use of colors he shows us the
power of nature. The time period in which Marine was created, around 1866, was the transition
from romanticism to realism. Landscapes were often chosen by artists of the Romantic era
because the artists could easily portray a sublime, dramatic, and genuinely natural scene of
grandeur.
Monet and Corbet decided to create their artworks, "en plein air," the french word's to
describe the act of painting outdoors. In Monet's artwork we can sense that he was interested in
color, the changing of light, and the passing of time. The fleeting moments of light are definitely
captured in this painting. The use of color demonstrates the achievement of depicting an
atmospheric scene. In Courbet's realistic piece the depiction of the weather has the feel of a rainy
day. The choice of neutral gray and blue colors conveys a gloomy and stormy day through the
depiction of the cloudy sky and the choppy waves. Courbet and Monet both pay great attention
to the detailed appearances of time change during the day. Monet captures a single moment of
this appearance and Courbet the whole natural environment of this scenery.
Monet, working in open air, captured every detail of light and atmosphere by using short
and energetic brush strokes leaving the smeared blobs of unmixed colors. His use of oil on

canvas and the attention to colors create an impression of the scene before him. The river in the
foreground shows how Monet pays close attention to the natural light and the reflections of color
in the water. In the piece Marine by Courbet the observations and the direct experience of the
brewing storm depict the intensity of that moment in time. The brush strokes and the use of oil
are very different from the Monet piece. Here the paint has a very soft feel. The use of different
hues of the same color and the blending is a gradual transition from one color to another. The
brush strokes are blended and without accumulation of paint.
Both canvases are approximately the same size. in Courbet's landscape the low horizon
line help give a sense of space and suggests a feeling of rest or repose....

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