Claude Monet- Impression, Sunrise. Essay

Topics: Impressionism, Claude Monet, Le Havre Pages: 6 (2289 words) Published: June 18, 2013
Throughout the years, Claude Monet’s Impression, Sunrise has been celebrated as the quintessential symbol of the Impressionist Movement.  This renowned work of art which illustrates a view of the port of Le Havre in north-western France is considered to be one of Monet’s “most poetic expressions” of his engagement with France’s revitalization efforts after the Franco-Prussian War.[1] Unlike other artworks of the time, the subject matter and specific painting techniques evident in Impression, Sunrise seek to transcribe the feelings initiated by a scene rather than simply rendering the details of a particular landscape.  This act of expressing an individual’s perception of nature was a key characteristic and goal of Impressionist art, and is a common motif found in Monet’s paintings.  While Impression, Sunrise and Monet’s artistic technique fell under harsh criticism at their outset, Monet’s masterpiece gave birth to a new movement and created a revolution in the world of art. Widely regarded as Monet’s single most famous painting, Impression, Sunrise was completed during the late nineteenth century in 1872.  The most significant aspect of the painting is its credit with giving the Impressionist Movement its name.  When the painting was first shown to the public in the L’Exposition des Révoltés—an exhibition independent of the Salon that was organized by Monet, Bazille, Pissarro, and their friends—many critics were extremely disapproving of the rebel group’s work, especially that of Monet.[2] In the April issue of Le Charivari, a critic named Louis Leroy judgmentally entitled his article “Exhibition of the Impressionists,” thereby coining the term inspired by the title of Monet’s work Impression, Sunrise.  Although this oil painting was disparaged during the time of its creation, today it is viewed as an austere example of the mindset and purpose behind Impressionism.  Currently, Impression, Sunrise is located in the Musée Marmottan in Paris, France.[3] The imagery of this work of art presents a focus on the calm feeling of a misty maritime scene.  Slightly below the center of the painting, a small rowboat with two indistinct figures floats in the bay.  The early morning sun is depicted rising over the foggy harbour with ships and other various boats at port.  The shadows of the boats and figures and the reflection of the sun’s rays can be seen on the water’s surface.  Monet incorporates a palette of mostly cool, dull colors into the painting with blues and grays, but also includes splashes of warm colors noticed in the sky and the red-orange sun.  This usage of a noticeably bright color draws attention to the main focus of the painting, the sun.  Numerous vertical elements can be found throughout this hazy landscape.  To the left of the center of the canvas, a four-masted clipper ship enters the harbor while smoke-stacks of steamboats fill the atmosphere.  Cranes and heavy machinery can be detected to the right side of the painting.  The emissions of the factories, ships, and machinery mix with the early rays of the sun to generate a sort of beauty that is “both surprising and seductive.” [4] Off in the distance, more vertical forms break the horizon—chimneys of various factories and masts of other ships may be observed. Through the examination of specific characteristics apparent in the painting, we are able to identify the distinguished artistic style of Monet.  As a notable artist, Claude Monet was acknowledged for his awareness of color harmony and his ability to enforce viewers’ attention.  He was widely known for capturing rich atmospheric effects and a particular moment in time in his works of art.[5] To accomplish these feats, Monet employed broken brushwork and heightened color.  He was also very sensitive to the moods created by a landscape; in his own words he explained his method of depicting the feeling of a scene: When you go out to paint, try to forget what objects you have in front of you, a tree, a...
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