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Five Facts: All About The Monet

02. 05. 2018

Claude Monet is a celebrated French pioneer of impressionism, an art style presenting reality and ordinary life with an expressive brushwork and a play of lights and shadows. The revolutionary’s work is amongst the world’s most expensive and renowned; in particular, his oil paintings of water lilies and poppy fields. Unfortunately, Claude Monet’s interesting and exceptional life is unknown by many; and for this reason, we provide you with 5 facts of the father of impressionism.

1. Frustration made him jump into the Seine

All students can agree that the education system can drive you to the point where you want to throw yourself in front of a running car. Well, our beloved Monet wasn’t any different. While attending the Académie, a praised French art school, Claude wasn’t able to cope with the standardised and uninspired teaching methods the professors delivered. His attempts to have his art work displayed at the Académie’s exhibitions were fruitless and the family’s financial struggle was dragging him into depression. His solution? In 1868, he threw himself off a bridge into the Seine. Fortunately, the artist survived his plunge into Paris’ river and eternalised his almost place of death in various paintings.

 2. The story of the wives

Monet’s first wife, Camille Doncieux, was the motive and inspiration of many of his paintings, such as Woman with a Parasol. After their second son was born, Camille was diagnosed with tuberculosis and uterine cancer, which quickly ended her life at the young age of 32. Monet’s painting of her death bed is widely considered as one of the most emotion-arousing and evocative art work. After his wife’s death, Claude married Alice Hoschedé, a widow with six children who was jealous of Monet’s first wife until the end of their days. (Fun Fact: Monet’s son married one of Hoschedé’s daughters later on)

3. His battle with vanishing eyesight

The artist was diagnosed with cataracts in 1912, a condition that clouds the eye lens and decreases vision. His impaired eyesight lead to a limited colour spectrum and Monet’s paintings adopted a reddish tint. Despite his legal classification as blind in 1922, his brilliance didn’t let him quit painting. Monet continued fabricating art in great detail, yet slightly blurry; by memorising the location of his paints. On a side note, some critics suggest that his signature impressionistic style may have derived from his fatigued vision, rather than his artistic talent.

4. He is in one of Renoir’s paintings

During his summer in the Paris suburb, Argenteuil, his friend and fellow artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir paid him a visit, in 1873. The artists would spend much time outdoors, painting for hours on end and bonding over their mutual hatred of the Académie. While Monet was painting the flowers in his garden, Renoir chose to recreate the image of his friend during his favourite pastime activity. Renoir’s candid style let him to name the painting simply Monet Painting in His Garden at Argenteuil.

5. Water Lilies

Monet’s obsession with Nymphaeaceae, or more commonly called ‘water lilies’; lead to him to create over 250 oil paintings depicting the delicate flowers, mostly during his last 30 years alive. Whenever he took a break from painting his favourite plant, he would spend time remodelling his garden, creating greater inspiration for his work. The Water Lilies series has been characterised as “The Sixtine Chapel of Impressionism” and is exhibited in museums all around the world.

Monet achieved success only by the end of his life; and unfortunately, fame plummeted after his death. However, his influence on the art scene and subsequent art movements revived the interest in his name, lasting until today.

More of Claude Monet

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