Beyond Stories

The History of Claude Monet

The History of Claude Monet

Claude Monet was a trailblazing artist whose contributions broke boundaries and changed the art world forever. He’s credited as being the “Father of Impressionism”, but how did a grocer’s son with humble beginnings become one of the world’s most iconic artists?

THE EARLY LIFE OF CLAUDE MONET

Monet’s artistic journey began in Le Havre at the age of 15. He received formal training at the Académie Suisse and made money on the side selling caricatures of his classmates and friends. These drawings built his confidence as a young artist and played an important role in his rise to notoriety amongst locals – including Eugene Boudin, who would go on to become Monet’s mentor.

WHEN DID IMPRESSIONISM BEGIN?

Fast forward to 1872 when Monet painted “Impression, Sunrise”, the masterpiece that would inspire the artistic movement of the same name. The term “Impressionism” came from satirical journalist Louis Leroy, who was appalled at the painting and thought of it as nothing more than paint smeared onto canvas – an “impression” of a legitimate work of art. Monet and his contemporaries took Leroy’s tongue-in-cheek “Impressionist” label and ran with it, embracing it as a fitting label for their innovative approach to art.

“Wallpaper in its embryonic state is more finished than this seascape” – Louis Leroy

UNDERSTANDING THE VALUE OF CLAUDE MONET’S WORK

Because modern-day audiences are familiar with Monet’s masterpieces, it may be easy for some to forget the revolutionary and profoundly radical nature of his work. The French Academy of Fine Art championed studio painting, precise drawing, calculated lighting, and preferred to feature great historical subjects – Monet and his fellow Impressionists turned these conventions upside down, instead opting to paint outdoors (“en plein air”) in natural light with “everyday people” as their subjects.

Claude Monet’s impact on the art world is immeasurable and his journey from caricatures to artistic immortality is a testament to the power of passion, creativity, and drive.

REFERENCES

Louis Leroy, Art In Context 

Brush Up On Monet

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