The painting “Haystacks” by Claude Monet is a revolutionary work that depicts a sunset on a rural setting. The appearance of the rough-and-ready brush strokes in this painting are a way for the artist to manage to capture an impression of a landscape en plein air; it is like a way of mimicking all of the current conditions of the moment right before they vanish. This creates an effect that allows the public to feel the conditions of the sunset that Monet is trying to capture. Broken colored brush strokes painted diagonally to the left mimic the effect of the wind blowing of what in the distance appears to be a colorful plain of flowers; it is all about how the wind makes you feel, it shows a subjective depiction of the landscape, rather than “objective” view of it. The directions of the brush strokes are equally important, because the artist uses them to create an effect of contrast that allows the public to clearly appreciate the houses that are better appreciated when one takes a step back to observe the landscape.
What really stands out in the painting are the tones of purple that Monet used to play with the light of the scene. He used dark, strong shades of purples for shadowing and lighter, brighter tones for portraying the landscape. All of these elements work in synchrony to create a snapshot; the impression of a retrieved memory that shows a peaceful landscape.
Phillips, Sam. –Isms: Understanding Modern Art. New York, NY: Universe Publishing, 2012.
@beCraftsy. “4 Impressionist Techniques to Try Yourself.” The Craftsy Blog. 2014. Accessed September 19, 2016. http://www.craftsy.com/blog/2014/02/impressionist-techniques/
Bridge Over a Pond of Water Lilies is a very early piece of painting by Claude Monet. Monet had drawn a lot of water lilies throughout his entire life. Compare to his late painting of water lilies, this piece shows more content and makes people hard to catch the main character in the painting at the first glimpse. The bridge cuts the picture into two parts: the upper part is the background of this painting which consists of reeds, bushes, willows and trees, while the lower part focuses on the water lilies and the shadow of the bridge. Monet used heavy layers of dots to imply the endless greenness in the background and the blooms of water lilies in the pond.
Monet didn’t choose bright colors to present this painting; it even looks a bit messy and chaotic with the mixture of pink and green colors. The brush strokes presented here are also complicated with the horizontal drawings for water lilies while vertical for the greenness in the background. However, because there are only two main colors, the painting doesn’t give the viewers a strong and sharp image but instead leaves a peace and clam impression.
This painting perfectly matches my idea of impressionism that the artists don’t depict the landscape with exact and real details but the sensation produced by the objects. As the impressionists claim that when they draw a landscape they are drawing the air around it instead of the object itself. In this piece of painting, it’s not hard to see Monet’s effort into illustrating the sensation of the bridge and water lilies instead of elaborating a certain detail.
This painting by Camille Pissarro titled “The Woods at Marly” depicts a scene of fall harvest in a small, colorful wood. This painting is dominated by elements of nature, including trees, leaves, bushes, and dirt, which contrast the small unidentifiable people walking amongst the trees. I’ve always liked impressionist art over other modern art forms because I feel like it creates a balance between classic work and modern work. “The Woods at Marly” is no exception to the fleeting beauty conveyed in impressionist work, but the portrayal of a fall forest transcends what impressionism is to me. The color-blending and hasty brush marks of the painting stay true to the impressionist outlook on painting, but I think it carries some attention to detail that is often overlooked in art of it’s kind. Since impressionism is supposed to capture “the impression” of a situation, I think Pissarro’s piece turns the commonplace fall harvest into a scene of idyllic serenity and nostalgia that is hard to understand in the Old Master’s artwork. Even the way the trees frame the pathway drawing the viewer’s eye through the canvas towards the bright green of the outer forest creates a sense of artistic depth in which one can travel through the painting’s subject into its core, which I think is what impressionist painters want the viewer to experience. Although the impressionist artwork was seen as a silly way of painting in its time, compared to the previous works of art the way feeling can be brought through, even in something as simple as some trees, is far more developed than any biblical masterpiece. I also enjoy how the short, irregular brushstrokes stay true to the multitude of leaf shapes one sees in real life, and how the colors blend together yet stand out so distinctly when one is up close to the painting. These elements give a more realistic impression onto the painting than any old masterpiece does, as wanting to create an image as accurately as possible does not express the gestures and idiosyncrasies that come from emotion over substance. I appreciate this painting all the more in the way that it creates a lasting impression in my mind, which I think captures the essence of the impressionistic goal.
Armand Guillaumin’s Sunset at Ivry (1873), depicts a simple image of the sun setting behind a distant city. Closely associated with the Impressionist movement, Guillaumin chose to paint the sunset at a peculiar angle: the actual fading sun is eclipsed by two tall and dark trees. It was very uncommon for impressionist painters to use black in their color scheme, yet they did intend on perfecting the different shades of light within a setting. The painting is mainly composed of short brushstrokes that fade into one another, especially visible in the upper part of the sky. His transition from blue to green to orange and to dark orange creates the illusion of a passage of time – another form of movement. Physical movement is effectively expressed in the smoke rising from the smokestacks in the distant city, flowing against the direction of the sun. Perhaps this was intended to present the conflict between nature and industrialism at the time.
In Claude Monet’s 1891 painting, Haystacks (Sunset), the subject matter is as simple and pedestrian as the title: a single haystack in an empty field, backlit by the sunset. What makes the work appealing is Monet’s colorful, hazy rendering of the scene. The aspect of the painting that impresses me most is Monet’s use of a wide spectrum of colors and hues. Every color of the rainbow from red all the way through to indigo is utilized in some way. The predominance of floral shades of indigo, lavender, vermilion, and pale yellow inspires a feeling of serenity and bliss. Monet’s decision to compose the body of the haystack with darker hues of red-orange and khaki, and then to outline it with the soft yellows and pinks of the surrounding air creates a glowing effect around the haystack, a kind of halo of light. The haziness of the picture is another very effective element; the dim outlines of buildings and hills in the background, along with the blurry edges of the haystack, the amorphous sea of lavender flowers, and the glowing quality of the light combine to give an impression that the air is full of dust after a long summer day of farming. The haziness could also convey the tiredness one might feel after that long day of working the fields. All of these elements come together to create an immersive and enchanting picture that very accurately portrays the dreamlike feeling of a glorious summer sunset in the country.