Tag: Landscape Painting
The outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War ( July 18, 1870) found Claude Monet at Le Havre, where he remained as that fateful summer wore on. On September 2 came the German breakthrough at Sedan; Napoleon III capitulated and on September 4 the Third Republic was proclaimed. Leaving Camille and little Jean in Normandy, Monet sailed for England in September. Bazille volunteered for the Zouaves and joined a line regiment in August (he was killed in action at Beaune-la-Rolande on November 28).
Manet, as a confirmed republican, waited for the Empire to collapse and then enlisted (as did Degas) in an artillery unit of the National Guard. Pissarro, living at Louveciennes, found himself in the path of the advancing Germans and fled to England, leaving behind hundreds of his pictures together with many that Monet had stored with him. Torn from their frames and used as floor-mats and aprons by the Prussian soldiery, who turned his house into the regimental butchershop, all were destroyed — an irreparable loss, depriving us of by far the greater part of Pissarro’s pre-1870 output and a substantial part of Monet’s. To these losses, in the case of Monet, must be added the many canvases which he himself ripped to shreds in fits of despair or to prevent their being seized by his creditors.
Things went no better for him in London than in France. The English public showed complete indifference to his work. He submitted some pictures to an exhibition at the Royal Academy, but they were rejected. He had the good luck, however, to run into Daubigny, who introduced him to his own dealer, Paul Durand-Ruel, also a refugee in London, who had opened a gallery at 158 Bond Street. This meeting was providential not only for Monet but also for Pissarro, who met Durand-Ruel at the same time. “Without him we’d have starved to death in London,” he wrote later. But in spite of his enthusiasm for their work and his persistence in bringing it to public notice, Durand-Ruel failed to sell a single one of their pictures in England. He nevertheless went on buying canvases from Monet and Pissarro, and thus enabled them to keep afloat.
Monet made several views of the Thames in addition to some studies in Hyde Park in which the figures are very roughly silhouetted against a simplified landscape composed of broad, flat planes of color. Pissarro tells of their visits to the museums and how much they were impressed by the English landscape painters, by Constable and Turner in particular. Monet later denied that he had been influenced by Turner at that time, and indeed it is only in the much later series of fog effects on the Thames ( 1904) that Turner’s influence becomes apparent.
In the summer of 1871 Monet left England for Holland, where he painted some landscapes in which the mighty forms of windmills, outlined against the immensity of the sky above the canals in the foreground, are treated in a free, sparkling style very much like that of his Trouville seascapes of 1870.
Life had gone back to normal in Paris now and artists were returning to their old haunts. The group that had formed around Manet in the late sixties now formed again, but this time it centered on Monet. Even before his military service, as early as 1859, Monet had met Pissarro at the Académie Suisse; after his discharge from the army, at Gleyre’s studio in 1862, he had met Renoir, Bazille and Sisley. Monet thus formed the link between the group at Gleyre’s and the group at the Académie Suisse, where Pissarro had been joined by Cézanne and Guillaumin.
In December 1871 Monet settled at Argenteuil, on the western outskirts of Paris. After a visit to Le Havre in the spring of 1872, he left for Holland, eager to rework a vein that had proved so fruitful in the previous year. It is difficult to distinguish between the pictures made during these two stays in Holland, few of them being dated. Assignable to 1872, however, are those which foreshadow the fully developed technique of his Argenteuil period, those, in other words, in which we find a breaking-up of color into a patchwork of small brushstrokes and a new emphasis on atmospheric vibration.
In the autumn of 1872 Monet returned to Argenteuil where he lived for the next six years, with occasional expeditions to Paris, as is proved by two views of the Boulevard des Capucines in winter. He saw much of Renoir and they often worked together on the Seine banks. Monet’s first river scenes, in 1872-1873, were still built up in separate, unblended strokes and patches of color. A good example is Pleasure Boats which, enclosed in a triple frame with a Sisley and a Pissarro, forms a triptych bequeathed to the Louvre by Monsieur May.
As soon as they appeared, the Water Lilies of Claude Monet old age, those hymns to light, plant life and water, incurred the displeasure of both the well-wishers and the detractors of Impressionism. The first were baffled by Monet’s new manner; the second were blind to the new depth of vision these works revealed. Misunderstood and neglected for over thirty years, the Water Lilies are at last receiving the recognition they deserve.
Having had the privilege, from childhood up, of seeing and familiarizing myself with them in the setting at Giverny in which they were created (the only setting, let me add, that can do justice to them), it reflects no particular credit on me to say that personally I have never shared that incomprehension. To see the Water Lilies in the garden studio especially built to house them was to see them in natural, harmonious conjunction with radiant summer days spent in the garden at Giverny beside the pond which inspired them. It was a delight which those who experienced it will never forget.
I cannot deny that, for me at least, the spell is irremediably broken in the Musée de l’Orangerie, in that bleak back room which, designed especially for the Water Lilies in 1925, nevertheless baldly reduces them to a mural decoration — and they are ever so much more than that. The way in which they are encased there, in a long horizontal belt around the concave wall, restricts them to the narrow, perfectly extraneous function of emphasizing the ellipsoidal line of the architecture.
Monet himself contributed to this over-modest setting by approving the whole project at the time and by doing his utmost to adapt his panels to it. To break and diversify the even horizontal flow of the paintings around the room, he sprinkled the foreground with willow fronds suggestive of the decorative style of art nouveau, fashionable around 1900. At the same time they introduce a third dimension which strikes an uncalled-for contrast with the sheer vertical plane of the water surface; the latter, with its rich play of light effects, was theme enough in itself.
The setting, then, in which the Water Lilies have been exhibited to the public in part explains both the eclipse they underwent for over a quarter of a century and the keen revival of interest in them caused by the recent revelation of further Water Lilies hitherto hidden from view in the studio at Giverny. The evolution of taste and ideas in the course of the past halfcentury explains the rest.
This evolution, as far as painting is concerned, began with the dissensions that led to the break-up of the impressionist movement in the eighties. While Monet went on, singlemindedly pursuing the subtlest, most elusive effects and variations of light and atmosphere, Pissarro, Renoir, Cézanne, Van Gogh and Gauguin each branched out in different directions. The Neo-Impressionism of Seurat, with which Pissarro threw in his lot in 1886, was both a logical development of Impressionism and a reaction against it. The systematic, scientific application of the principles which Monet discovered and applied by trial and error signified in effect a tacit condemnation of the intuitive, empirical nature of his art.
As for Renoir, after an uneasy interlude in which he toyed with a harshly linear, Ingresque style, he finally reconciled his concern for form with his love of light, fusing both in an inimitable glorification of volume saturated with color. Cézanne, however, always deferring to his “sensations,” gradually exacted from them not an atmospheric so much as a geological revelation of the visible world. After a fling at Neo-Impressionism, whose narrow harness failed to hold him long in check, Van Gogh hit his stride at Arles, throwing off every constraint in a jubilant, preexpressionist exaltation of color and line. But it was the symbolism of Gauguin which worked the most radical transformation of Impressionism. Gauguin sacrificed the visual aspect of things to the expression, in terms of line and color, of the “idea” they engendered in the mind. He rejected outright the whole battery of naturalistic effects calculated to suggest space and light, and adopted flat colors and heavy contour lines.
The upshot of these powerfully diverging currents was Fauvism, which abandoned every semblance of fidelity to outward appearances in favor of a rapturous glorification of color — but color handled more plastically than it was by the slightly later followers of Van Gogh, with their bias toward expressionist distortion. In spite of this reaction, however, Fauvism and Expressionism remained, like Impressionism, essentially dependent on the sensation induced by the object.
This was no longer true of Cubism, which rejected the outer world as it appears to our senses and built up another one out of a select assortment of elements artificially reassembled in the mind. This essentially cerebral art stood at the opposite pole from the essentially sensuous art of Impressionism. No wonder then that the meat of the one was the poison of the other. The rise of Cubism and the era that followed, during which its influence spread and was assimilated, set up a reaction against Impressionism, whose achievement was belittled and whose most characteristic representative, Claude Monet, was disregarded by a whole generation of artists.
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Gabriella Benevolenza, a young woman of Italian-Finnish descent was born in Helsinki, Finland in July, 1968. She was raised in various countries finally settling in Alsace (France), where she lives and paints. She studied “Arts plastique” from 1992 – 1995. She is now a valued member of AIDA (Artistes Independent d’Alsace).
Always very “constructed”, her semi-abstract work is a search for transparancy and colour balance: light and the variations of adding different types of material. She uses plaster of paris, metal pigmented paints, various types of cloth, emery paper or printed collage material.
Gabriella Benevolenza always uses collages and sometimes a square stencil. She gives rythme to her paintings by using horinzontal and/or vertical lines. On a symbolised landscape, a horizontal division may suggest houses, a small harbor, bottles or a simple forms and colors harmony, that no title helps the viewer with orientation.
The artist, herself, often remarks that: “ I may not see anything”
The most important is not the title, but the harmony of the complete color palette : from warm colours to bright orange, smooth and delicate greys, astonishing beiges that illuminate a wide space. A red point may bring , in true freedom, the final touch.
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Claude Monet was born in Paris on November 14, 1840. He took drawing lessons in school and began making and selling caricatures at age seventeen. Artist Eugene Boudin introduced him to painting en plein air or out of doors. The invention of oil paints in portable tubes enabled artists to paint en plein air. The palette also changed with the introduction of paints made with chemical dyes, making a wider range of colors available.
In Paris, Monet met painters like Gustave Courbet and Pierre August Renoir. In 1874 he exhibited with the Société anonyme, where his painting Impression: Sunrise earned the group the title, “Impressionists,” as critics thought their paintings were unfinished impressions.
In 1883, Monet moved to Giverny. There, he began his paintings of the French countryside, and many of his paintings depict his property at Giverny. In many of these paintings, one subject was painted several times, so that different effects of light and atmosphere were shown. Champ d’Avoine is one painting in a series of three. Although in his earlier career, he focused on industrialization, people and popular leisure spots, he eventually focused on the landscape, emphasizing the beauty of light and the lushness of nature.
Light and its effects on color and the innovation of photography, with its ability to capture the fleeting moment, fascinated the Impressionist painters. Inspired by that freeze-frame in time, they realized the potential for painting these effects in color. Working out of doors (en plein air), their hues became more vivid with their renderings of sunlight and its interplay with nature.
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Salvador Dalí’s experience of religion was divided from early on. His mother’s family were devout Catholics, but his father was a staunch atheist who sent him initially to the local state school to spare his son a Catholic education. The young Dalí shared his father’s aversion.
In 1929–30 his films Un Chien andalou and L’Age d’or, made with Luis Bunuel, included scandalous portrayals of the priesthood as corrupt, ignorant and hypocritical. In 1929 Dalí also drew a blasphemous image of Christ and the sacred heart, which he entitled Sometimes I spit with pleasure on the portrait of my mother (The Sacred Heart) to the anger and distress of his family.
Although he once blamed Catholicism for his profound sense of guilt about sex, Dalí began drifting back to the church from the 1940s onwards exploring his religious roots and studying medieval, particularly Spanish mystics for whom art, science and religion were one.
During a private audience with Pope Pius X11 in 1949, Dalí showed him his latest painting The Madonna of Port Lligat – the serene canvas depicting his wife Gala as the Virgin Mary floating dreamily above the bay of Port Lligat was blessed by the pontiff.
On 19 October 1950, he gave a lecture at the Ateneu in Barcelona, titled ‘Why I was Sacrilegious. Why I am a Mystic’ which sought to explain his transformation from a zealous anti-cleric to a devout Catholic albeit one who lacked complete ‘faith’. Reincarnating himself,he attempted to persuade his audience that he was himself a true religious mystic who reinterpreted and rationalised the Christian religion through the lens of contemporary scientific discoveries.
The paintings from this period that Dalí called Nuclear mysticism are characterised by a painterly style characteristic of traditions of classicism particularly those of the great Italian masters of ten Renaissance period such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. During a television interview with American Mike Wallace in 1958 Dalí explained that everything in life was erotic and therefore ugly, whilst death in comparison was free of eroticism and a sublime, beautiful experience. Nevertheless he feared his own death and hoped to avoid it altogether. Failing this he died with last rites in 1989.
Impressionism and Claude Monet
Claude Monet (1840 – 1926) pioneered Impressionism, profoundly influencing landscape painting. From Paris, Monet met the nucleus of his Impressionist group while attending the studio of Glenyre. Making a break from established painting techniques, Monet captured the fleeting effects of time of day, atmosphere and season upon color and light.
Like a prism, his artwork broke color into individual elements, and completely lacked black and gray tones. Monet often painted the exact same view numerous times to depict changing light and weather conditions. Refining the portrayal of natural light’s transient effects, his work broke ground for 20th century modernism.