Monet's Waterlilies 2021 by Lesley Blackburn

This month, we are celebrating Claude Monet’s birthday. Born on the 14th of November 1840, his parents named him Oscar-Claude Monet and wanted him to run the family grocery business. However, he had much bigger ideas. His curiosity and desire to explore led him to become the founding father of impressionism. This art movement went against the strict formalism that was dominant in the art world.

Through his work, he strived to capture the light and movement of the natural world rather than painting a realistic representation of his subjects. Monet aimed not to document an image but to capture a specific moment. Impressionist paintings capture a mood and an atmosphere as much as they capture the people and landscapes within them. At the time, art critics frowned upon Monet and his colleague’s style.


Summer Song by Zoe Elizabeth Norman
Summer Song by Zoe Elizabeth Norman


Claude Monet was born in Paris. During his childhood, his parents relocated to the French region of Normandy and set up a home near the ocean. In his new climate, the weather changed rapidly, and this affected the colour and tone of the sea minute by minute, something Monet became drawn to.

Monet studied drawing and painting, but rather than attending the renowned art school of the region Ecole des Beaux-Arts he preferred to be with other artists from the Academie Suisse, where he learned from his peers. In 1861, he served two years in Algeria, and by 1870 he was introduced to Japanese Art, unaware of the enormous impact this style would have on European Airt in the future.

So, Monet was influenced by his experiences, the light and colours found in his native country, the climate and colours of Algeria, and the vibrant colouring of Japanese art. As a result, the “broken” brushwork style, which encompasses rapid brush strokes and broken colour, can be seen throughout his work.


Water Lilies I by Susan Wooler
Water Lilies I by Susan Wooler


One of the best examples of his work that depicts the use of his unique style is his Sunrise Impression. In Sunrise, we can see Monet’s brushstrokes in their prime. Painted at Port Le Harve, France, Monet uses his rapid brush strokes to portray the setting sun and the reflection on the gently darkening ocean.

You can see Monet’s first wife, Camille Doncieux and their children in many of his paintings. Camille died in 1879 at the age of 32. Following his marriage, Monet had a long-term relationship with Alice Horschede, the wife of his friend Ernest Horschede. IN 1883 Monet and Alice moved to Giverny, where Monet spent the rest of his day landscaping and creating pictures of his garden. In 1926 at the age of 86, he died, having lived long enough to see his legacy start to unfold from receiving snide evaluations of his early work to being seen as the beloved artist he is today.


Water lilies in Cloude Monet Style by Olga Koval
Water lilies in Claude Monet Style by Olga Koval
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