Impressionism is a 19th century art movement that originated with a group of artists based in Paris. Claude Monet can be considered as one of the “founding fathers” of Impressionism. The term “Impressionism”, referred to the art movement, originated from one of Monet’s paintings (Impressions, soleil levant). Monet’s style of painting captures the essence of Impressionism. Monet’s early work was more oriented towards realism and depicted contemporary subjects such as streets, nature and people. Monet was inspired part by Edouard Manet and he gradually began to develop a distinctive style of his own. He soon departed from distinctive lines that defined the shapes of objects and linear perspective. Paintings such as Jardin à Sainte-Adresse, are characteristic of his early style. In his middle years, Monet clearly defined his style through the use of opaque colours, light and short, fast brushstrokes. Claude Monet’s painting subjects revolved mainly around nature and city scapes. Characteristic for Impressionist painters, Monet painted en plein air (outdoors). Painting outdoors allowed Monet and his fellow artists to capture a moment of the fleeting nature and create directly their own impression. Wherever he went, Monet set up his own painting studio and painted his subject at first hand instead of relying on memory. That way the viewer can really “experience” the nature through the painting. Monet often painted a series of the same subject to capture the changing effects of light, swapping canvases as the day progressed. This is the case with his series on poplars on the River Epte, haystacks in a field, the cliffs of Etretat and the Rouen Cathedral. However, none of his paintings in a series are identical. Each series demonstrates the changing nature of light, reflections and the seasons. Another popular source of inspiration for Monet was his own garden at Giverny where he was fascinated by reflections and flowers, particularly the...
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