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Archive for December, 2008

Claude Oscar Monet (14 November 1840 – 5 December 1926) was the founder of the genre of Impressionism in painting. Even the name of this relatively new genre was coined from the name of his famous artwork, “Impression: Sunrise”. His paintings not only gave rise to a new branch of artistry, those also served as ideal guidelines for followers of his genre. A contemporary of eminent artists like Vincent Van Gogh, Monet is known for his use of rich hues of red, yellow, etc., in subtle tones and his preference for landscape paintings. His technique is now famous as “plein-air landscape painting”, the word “plein” meaning “outdoor” in French. It involves falling back on nature for inspiration for artworks, instead of opting for human models.

Claude Monet attended the Le Havre Secondary School of the Arts at a young age. During his time at the college, he was known for his charcoal-drawn caricatures, which he would sell to art collectors for prices between 10 and 20 francs. Around 1856, Monet met on the beaches of Normandy fellow artist Eugène Boudin who became his mentor and taught him to use oil paint in his artworks. This altered Claude Monet’s approach towards painting and he went on to create some of the finest oil paintings of the world, most of which are well sought after commodities to date.

In 1870, Monet moved to England to escape the horrors of the Franco-Prussian war. There he studied the works of famous landscape painters John Constable and Joseph Mallord William Turner, both of whom greatly influenced his works later. In 1872/1873, Monet painted one of his best works, namely, Impression: Sunrise, which is considered to be the first example of the genre of Impressionism. Some of his other great works include, Vétheuil in the Fog, Saint Lazare Train Station, Seine Basin with Argenteuil, Street near Vétheuil in Winter, Poppies Blooming and Lavacourt: Sunshine and Snow.

Towards his final years, Monet shifted his attention towards other hobbies like gardening. But his pursuit of art did not end till the last day of his life. Monet received widespread acceptance for his stunning works, till he died of lung cancer on 5 December 1926 at the ripe old age of 86. His works are used worldwide till this date as examples of the modern genre of outdoor painting. Most art universities in the world showcase at least one or two works of Claude Monet as one of the greatest painters the world over.

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