Monet vs. Degas: Impressionist Aesthetics

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Although from the same artist group, these Impressionists originated from backgrounds that seemed worlds apart. Claude Monet, known as the "Master Impressionist" varied the themes in his artwork more than any other artist did. Monet's work "Impression Sunrise", of which the term "Impressionist" originates also gives rise to the title "Master Impressionist". Edgar Degas started his career as an artist with nothing in common with Monet but the era in which they lived. From themes to brushstrokes and choices of colours, Monet and Degas started their relationship as Impressionist artists on opposite ends of the earth. However, towards the climax of their lives as artists, Monet aided Degas in adopting Impressionist Aesthetic qualities.

Monet chose to depict exquisite landscapes from his own gardens and elsewhere, particularly in France. He uses small, elegant brush strokes and vibrant colour to match the scenes he paints. In the mid-1870's, Monet's influence over Degas lead Degas to lean his colour choices nearer to those of other Impressionists. In addition to this, Degas began employing pastels, which gave his works a more granular affect that more closely resembled those of other Impressionists. For numerous years in his life, after attempting to paint his the first of his famous "Haystacks" ,and, being unable to seize the right shading or colours due to the rising sun, Monet was intrigued by the affect of weather and light on his outdoor projects. On the other hand, Degas, although also concentrated mainly in France, based his works on people, nudes and ballerinas in particular. Monet never painted a nude.

Monet and Degas' earlier works have notably different brush stroke styles. While Monet has tended to lean towards the short, choppy and yet delicate, Degas' strokes blended virtuously unnoticeable. However, these seem to correspond with their earlier themes and objectives. Monet mastered the art of illustrating waves...
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