The painting, Gladioli, by Claude Monet is temporarily on display in the Italian wing of the Detroit Institute of Art. Due to the renovations being made to the newer sections of the museum, only the "old", main area of the museum is open to the public during the construction, so Gladioli had to be moved in order to be put on display Located on the right side of the main entrance the Italian wing is a one large room. Every available space on the walls is filled with paintings, and the center of the room is filled with sculptures. Tucked back in the far right corner of this room is our masterpiece, a spotlight from the high ceiling lights the work. At first glance the painting is unassuming and appears to be rather dull in it's content and subject matter. Upon further review, one can begin to see the tremendous amount of skill and effort the artist has put into this piece. Up close the painting looks like a series of dots and random brush strokes, if one steps ten feet back the painting comes alive!
Painted circa 1876, by Claude Monet, Gladioli is an oil on canvas and it is currently covered with protective glass. The painting's dimensions are 22 x 32.5 inches and is surrounded by a ten inch thick ornate gold frame making the entire work measure a substantial 30 x 20 x 3 7/8 inches. The painting depicts a women in blue, strolling along a path, in a formal garden, shaded by a green parasol. Pink, red and purple gladiolas, in full bloom, are in the right foreground. They are bordered by a low growing, coral colored flowers and small shrubs line the path. White moths fly amongst the flowers, and the angular dark shadow of a nearby building, that is just outside of the painting, lies in the left foreground. Behind the women in blue there are red roses growing up a lattice and a picket fence or gate is located just behind the gladiolas in the background. The path is interrupted by the square shadow of a nearby building, perhaps a gardening shed or the artist's workshop.
Up close this painting appears to be abstract, with small brush strokes and dots of color. From close up, one also notices that the paint appears to heaviest on the flowers. One can see the large dollops of paint, which contrast the light brush strokes in both the figure and the low bushes and walk. The women in blue holds a green parasol this is outlined with light yellow, this appears to represent light reflecting on to the parasol, but also serves to outline the umbrella from it's green background, which is also green. Based on information obtained from the Detroit Institute of Art's web site, (www.dia.org), the garden is in Argenteuil, near Paris, and at the time Monet's home. The figure is Monet's first wife Camille, apparently she was a common model for Monet's other works as well. One can begin to more fully understand the painting after one has understood more about the artist.
Claude Monet was born November 14, 1840, in Paris, France, the son of lower-middle class parents. He spent his youth in Le Havre, where he learned to do caricatures and landscapes. For the next sixty years Monet explored the effects of light on outdoor scenes. At age 19 he studied in Paris at the Atelier Suisse and served two years in the French military. In 1862 he joined a well known studio with other impressionist painters, such at Renoir, Sisley and Bazille. They gave public exhibitions of their work at a studio of a Paris photographer. Monet exhibited a painting called Impression: Sunrise, this painting lent it's name to a new style of painting: "Impressionism". His name continued to grow throughout the 1870's as he developed his unique painting style and proceeded to sell his own paintings, forming his own group of collectors. Monet loved to not only depict the outdoors, he felt that it was necessary to be outdoors when painting a scene that was outside. From 1871 to 1878 Monet lived at Argenteuil, a village on the Seine near Paris, here he painted some of the most...
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