Thursday, November 15, 2007

Claude Monet: Impressions a day late

I meant to salute the artist Claude Monet yesterday on the occasion of his birth (November 14, 1840), but was waylaid by my obsessively dark mediation on religion, prayer, free will and environmental responsibility. Giving myself a respite from those heavier themes, I've immersed myself in the works of Monet to catch a lighter view of the world.

He's known to many as the father of the Impressionist movement because his 1872 work Impression, levant soleil (Translated as "Impression, sunrise" and pictured at left) was used by a befuddled contemporary art critic to label the blossoming style. I've always appreciated the dreamlike perspective he shared of the brightly colored and atmospherically lit beauty that surrounded him. I'm especially fond of his later landscapes that tend toward abstraction.

I'm lucky that locally there is a good collection of Monet's work, including a few paintings from his wonderfully poetic haystacks series, at the Art Institute of Chicago. The museum also held a great retrospective on Monet back in the summer of 1995.

The YouTube set is quite taken with Monet as well, and I found numerous videos there dedicated to samplings from his body of work. Below is one I particularly like for its choice of pieces and fitting musical accompaniment.

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