Claude Monet (1840-1926)
Monet was born on November 14, 1840 in Paris. He was the second son of Claude-Adolphe and Louise-Justine Aubrée Monet, both of them second-generation Parisians.
In 1851, Monet entered the Le Havre secondary school of the arts. He first became known locally for his charcoal caricatures, which he would sell for ten to twenty francs. On the beaches of Normandy in about 1856/1857 he met fellow artist Eugène Boudin who became his mentor and taught him to use oil paints. Boudin taught Monet "en plein air" (outdoor) techniques for painting.
In 1862 Monet became a student of Charles Gleyre in Paris, where he met Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Frédéric Bazille, and Alfred Sisley. Together they shared new approaches to art, painting the effects of light en plein air with broken color and rapid brushstrokes. He was a founder of French impressionist painting, and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement's philosophy of expressing one's perceptions before nature. The term Impressionism is derived from the title of his painting Impression, Sunrise.
His most famous painting is the "Water-lillies" which he painted in the elaborate garden he had made for himself. Monet died of lung cancer on December 5, 1926 at the age of 86 and is buried in the Giverny church cemetery.
Jeanne d'Arc [Joan of Arc] (1412-1431 approx.) was a village girl, the daughter of a farmer. She believed that the voices of St. Catherine, St. Margaret and St. Michael had ordered her to lead the French army into battle against the English and to see the heir to the throne crowned King Charles VII of France. Joan persuaded Charles and the generals of the French army to let her take on this task and raised the siege of the town of Orleans. Charles was crowned King in Rheims Cathedral, but Joan was captured during a later attempt to reclaim the city of Paris. At this time the Catholic Church was dominant in both France and England. Joan...