Impressionist Artistic Style : Claude Monet Essay

Impressionist Artistic Style : Claude Monet Essay

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The Impressionist movement emerged in the late nineteenth century France initiated by a group of artists who defied conventional artistic standards and who were harshly criticized by the Academie des Beaux-Arts which was considered the authority in the realist styles of French painting of the period. Among them was Claude Monet (1840-1926) one of the most influential of the Impressionists.
The Impressionist artistic style was cultivated and influenced by its predecessors. Impressionism combined the Romantic use of color and Realism’s sense of everyday life subject matter in addition to techniques of chiaroscuro and adopting the practice of painting in the outdoors (en plein air, “in the open air”) to capture the effects of natural light and its movement throughout the day. Many characteristics of Impressionism were adopted from previous eras, but most aspects of Impressionism are consistently identifiable in one painting, but not always in equal measure.
Typical features of Impressionism as discussed by Kloss (2005), started with pale grey or a white ground (base) on the canvas, thereby increasing the representation of light in the final image as opposed to the traditional dark backgrounds which drew the focus of light into specific areas. Impressionists captured the wavering natural light from the sun’s movement with a sense of impermanence; a “flux of the dissolution of distinctly contoured form” which resulted from the intensive study of light on objects. Impressionist foreshadowing techniques employed the use of blues, violets and darker hues of colors instead of black shadowing softening the edges of forms. Customarily artists used small, short brushstrokes using separate and adjacent complementary colors blended ...


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...eaves that float on the water without definitive lines. The source of daylight illuminates, but does not designate its origin; it encompasses the entire composition indicating non-specific daylight hours. Additionally, the horizon line is not apparent and the foliage is blended into the water, by complimenting colors, creating a dreamlike image without borders, which makes the scene seem continuous beyond the painting itself.
Kloss (2005) states:
There 's something deeper here, I think, than the study and recording of colored light on objects, something as deep as the reflection of sky on water, as deep as pondering the change of seasons in a much loved place, as deep as memory; and in the final analysis, Monet was looking for a deeper reality below the beautiful surface; and as far as he could probe, as much as he could discover, he shared it with us (L44).

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