Claude Monet Art Biography And History

Claude Monet art prints provide true representations from one of the most prolific leaders in the Impressionist movement. It is from one of Monets paintings, Impression, Sunrise that the name of the genre derives from and therefore many consider Monet not only one of the most influential Impressionist painters, but the movements very founder and most ardent promoter. The defining philosophy of the Impressionist movement was to depict visual reality as objectively and truthfully as possible and how through light, movement, unusual angles and expression could influence human perception and experience. The movement started as a connection of French artists in the mid 19th century. Monets paintings are not only among some of the most famous Impressionist paintings, but also some of the best known paintings in the world.

Born in Paris, France on November 14, 1840 Monet lived to be 86 years old when he died of lung cancer on December 5, 1926. Soon after his birth, Monets family moved from Paris to Le Havre in Normandy, France where he would begin his training in the arts and where he would learn one of his most influential art techniques from fellow artist, and later mentor, Eugne Boudin. It was from Boudin that Monet learned how to use oil paints and the French term en plein air technique, which simply means, in open air. Although Monet excelled early in his career as a caricature artists using charcoal, it was through the techniques taught by Boudin that Monets landscape paintings became his most famous and distinctive painting style.

In 1859, Monet moved back to Paris where he studied at the Atelier Suisse. In 1861, he joined the military and began a seven-year service in Algeria with the First Regiment of African Light Cavalry. However, after two years, Monet contracted Typhoid fever and, with the intervention of his aunt, whom Monet began to live with after his mother died when he was 16, left the service and returned to Paris to study art. In Paris Monet met those who would later become the leading founders of the Impressionist movement. Among them were Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley and Frdric Bazille. Their collaborations brought new understandings to art with the effects of light in natural, out of door settings, and quick brushstrokes and how these affect human perception.

In 1866 Monet received his first recognition of fame with the painting Camille or The Woman in the Green Dress. The painting featured Camille Doncieux, who would later become Monets wife and a common fixture in many of Monets paintings. Soon after the completion of the painting, Camille became pregnant with their first child, Jean in 1867. In 1868, because of financial distress, Monet attempted suicide by throwing himself in the Seine River where, in 1871 after marrying Camille Doncieux, moved into a house near the very river he tried to kill himself on. Becoming ill in 1876, Camille gave birth to their second son, Michel, on March 17, 1878. The birth worsened her health and after moving the family to the village of Vtheuil in 1878, Camille died from tuberculosis on September 5, 1879.

Though spending most of his life in France, at the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war on July 19, 1870, Monet moved to England in September of the same year. He continued to study art and paint while residing in England. He did not stay there long and in May of 1871, he moved from England to a Dutch province in the Netherlands. After staying there only a few months, he returned to France in the fall of 1871 where he lived near the Seine River and where he created some of his best-known paintings.

After the death of Camille, Monet, in a personal declaration never to experience poverty again, embarked upon painting some of his most famous works. Taking inspiration from the French countryside, the Seine River and other natural landscapes, including his extensive garden, Monet practiced the technique that would define the impressionist movement, en plein air. The term describes the technique of the artist to paint in open air or out of doors, prior to which most paintings was done inside, typically in an artists studio. Monet did marry again in 1892 to Alice Hosched before which they moved to the now famous house in Giverny in Normandy where Monets painting including some Monets most famous paintings of his garden and local surroundings, including Monets Water Lillies. During this time, Monet began his exploration of series where he would paint the same image several times but in different light. He would experiment with how natural light would influence and affect human perception on the image. These images are now famous as a result of the proliferation of Monet Prints and Monet Posters.

The art prints of Claude Monet are a true testament to one of the worlds most influential artists. The use of light and natural surroundings was not only wonderfully accurate depictions but also revolutionary in how they depict human experience. By taking painting outdoors and en plein art, the Impressionist movement changed the way artists view the creation of artwork. Because of the Impressionist movement, it is quite common to see an artist solitarily sketching or painting a natural landscape with as much objective understanding and depiction of that landscape as possible. The Impressionist movement arguably gave rise to many of the understandings of modern art and artistic styles. Likewise, the influence continues and is evident in such styles as landscape photography.

Monets artwork defines not only a genre but also the entire style and techniques of art. Monets framed art prints clearly demonstrates the elegance in his use of light and brush strokes. When viewing Monets Woman with a Parasol, it is easy to see the influence that such a style has on human perception. The artwork of Monet depicts the classic endeavor to portray objectively natural landscapes and images as they appear to the human observation.

Some of Monets famous paintings include those created as series, which help define the philosophy of the Impressionist movement. In an effort to depict the natural landscape as objectively as possible, Monet sought to recreate the landscape exactly as he saw it. However, this endeavor proves difficult when the landscape continually and constantly changes due to the rotation of the Earth and Sun. The solution to this was to paint the same landscape, from the same angle and perspective, but with the various lighting affects cast by the sun. Thus, in such paintings as Rouen Cathedral, Haystacks and Water Lilies, the observer will notice the same image, yet slightly changed from the angle and strength of light cast from the sun. Monet even considered various weather patterns when painting these series. One of his most notable in this series is Monets Rouen Cathedral, which consist of a singular viewpoint but from noticeably different times of day and different weather effects throughout. As his Impressionist ideals inquired, he would often take out a different canvas every time the sun would noticeably change; Monet required several different canvases to depict the same image. In the Water Lilies series alone, there are upwards of two hundred and fifty separate paintings.

Monets garden at Giverny inspired him with one of his most famous painting series, Water Lilies. Monets Water Lilies paintings, also known as Nympheas, depict an effort to recreate his garden from various stages of the sun and different weather effects. When looking at the various water lilies the viewer will notice the difference in lighting and weather quite easily. The reflections from the water, the different color aspects and the very size of the flowers themselves all help to reinforce the idea of portraying the landscape as truthfully as possible, even when that landscape constantly changes.
Likewise, this same idea is also true in Monets Haystack (or sometimes referred to as Grainstack) series. Similar to the water lilies, Monet wanted to show the same natural landscape and imagery he saw, as objectively as possible. He created these paintings in the countryside of Normandy. The stacks helped to emphasize prosperous ideas of this region and often considered a mascot of the landscape. When looking at these various paintings, it is clear to recognize at what great length Monet took to portray the countryside accurately. To complete this series, Monet would rise early in the morning, sometimes before dawn and would cart numerous unfinished canvases with him every day to the scenery desired. At times, he would work on as many as ten to twelve different canvases a day depending on the various weather conditions and position of the sun. Monets Impressionist ideals shine strongly through his various series paintings through his attempt to paint the same images and landscape from the same angle and point of view while objectively showing the changing of the different natural features.

Sylvia (Ballet) – An Absolute Classic

The mythology inspired ballet Sylvia, is a three-act ballet set to the music of French Composer Lo Delibes. Often considered to be one of Delibes’s greatest musical works the ballet Sylvia made its debut in 1876 in Paris. The inspiration for the ballet’s story is believed to be the 1573 pastoral play -Aminta’ by Italian poet Torquato Tasso. The premiere of Sylvia at the Palais Garnier in Paris on June 14th 1876 was unfortunately met with a poor reception and subsequent productions of the ballet were also largely unsuccessful.

It was the renowned dancer and choreographer Sir Frederick Ashton who resurrected the almost forgotten ballet in 1952. However Sylvia still did not receive critical acclaim it is thought largely down to it’s complicated plot. Sir Frederick tried to give the ballet more popular appeal reducing it to a one-act piece but Sylvia could still not capture the publics’ heart and Ashton eventually gave up on it in 1965. Sir Frederick believed in Sylvia though and had expressed a desire to rework it once again into a three-act ballet. This was picked up on by one of his former students, Christopher Newton, who rewrote Sylvia for the 21st Century audience and a three-act version close to Sir Frederick’s vision appeared on stage in 2001.

The main characters in the ballet are Sylvia a nymph huntress and Aminta a young shepherd who is in love with Sylvia. The other protagonists come from mythology – the God of Love Eros and Diana the Goddess of hunting. The malevolent force within the ballet comes in the guise of Orion, a hunter who also desires Sylvia’s affections. Various forest creatures, nymphs and dryads provide the ballet’s pastoral imagery, with other minor characters such as peasants and hunt attendants featured.

A Sacred wood is the title of the first act of Sylvia and the ballet begins with a ritualistic scene featuring the forest creatures and nymphs dancing for the God Eros. Both Aminta and Sylvia stumble upon the scene and while Aminta remains hidden Sylvia and her hunt attendants make themselves known and mock Eros. Sylvia shoots an arrow at the hidden Aminta, not realizing it is her ardent suitor, but injures both Eros and Aminta with her arrow. The malevolent force in the play is Orion who is also in love with Sylvia and he has been watching the whole scene unfold and he uses the ensuing confusion as an opportunity to kidnap Sylvia.

In the second Act of Sylvia, entitled Orion’s Island Cave, we find Sylvia being held against her will by Orion. Sylvia refuses all of Orion’s attempts to win her over and hatches a plan to get him drunk so she can escape. She appeals to the God of love Eros for help and he appears along with a vision for Sylvia of Aminta waiting for her at Diana’s temple. Eros helps Sylvia to escape taking her to the temple to be reunited with Aminta.

The third act is called The Sea Coast Near The Temple Of Diana and this is where Aminta and Sylvia are reunited. However Orion is in pursuit and also arrives at the temple. Orion and Aminta fight and in the confusion Orion tries to enter Diana’s shrine where Sylvia is hiding. This act enrages Diana who refuses to give Sylvia and Aminta congress. All is saved by Eros who sends a vision to Diana that reminds her of her own young love for a shepherd Endymion. This softens her heart and Aminta and Sylvia are able to come together with the blessing of the Gods.