Claude Monet was the leader of Impressionism, the french movement that began in the 1860’s which gave birth to a style of painting in which the artist painted what he or she “felt” instead of what he or she could see with the eyes. It was painting your “impression” of the subject instead of a realistic picture of it. Impressionism can be considered the first distinctly modern movement in painting. Its originators were rebel artists who rejected the official, government-sanctioned exhibitions or “salons.” These Impressionists were shunned by powerful art institutions because they rejected realism and the fine detail to which most artists of their day aspired to. The Impressionism artists replaced this realism with the momentary, sensory effect or feel of a scene. They focused on the impression the objects made on the eye in a fleeting instant.
The Impressionists loosened their brushwork and lightened their palettes to include pure, intense colors. They abandoned traditional linear perspective and avoided the clarity of form that had previously served to distinguish the more important elements of a picture from the lesser ones. For this reason, many critics faulted Impressionist paintings for their unfinished appearance and seemingly amateurish quality. It took years before Impressionism would be accepted and taken seriously as a legitimate painting style.
Monet was the first abstract artist
Claude Monet was interested in painting in the open air (en plein air) and capturing natural light. Monet would later bring the technique to one of its most famous pinnacles with his series paintings in which his observations of the same subject viewed at various times of the day were captured in numerous sequences of paintings (such as his haystack series). Masterful as a colorist and as a painter of light his later work often achieved a remarkable degree of abstraction which opened the door to future abstract art and artists.
Claude Monet was definitely ahead of his time…