Friday, April 03, 2015

Arty Farty Friday ~ Monet in Spring

For this Arty Farty springtime Friday, rather than featuring an artist born around this time of year, I've chosen a famous painter - one of the most famous in fact - whose work does real justice to the best aspects of springtime: Claude Monet.

Spring is all about light, both light the opposite of darkness, and light the opposite of heavy.
Spring has a light touch, colours are light, feelings and hearts after a long winter are light, the sky is lighter for longer. I think Monet, founder of Impressionism, caught all of this lightness better than any other painter.

"Claude Monet (1840-1926) exemplified Impressionism more completely and pushed it further than any other painter. The style’s radicalism lay in the determination to paint not just reality but the seeing of reality, the act of perception itself, by showing how light, especially bright light, tended to dissolve the colors and forms of the world. The key to this effect lay in spontaneous, broken, skipping brushwork — preferably registered in paint applied in front of the subject, en plein air.

The images produced are so familiar now that it’s possible to forget that Impressionism created a newly complex awareness for its original viewers. The experience of light was enhanced, but so was the physical assertiveness of the painted surface. Paint and reality co-existed in heightened tension.

In terms of sheer physical gifts Monet was superbly skilled at maintaining this tension. Cézanne’s famous summing up is still the best: Monet, he said, “is only an eye, but good God, what an eye.” — From "Monet Arrives and Ripens," by Roberta Smith, The New York Times, May 4, 2007 "

In his later years Monet developed cataracts.
"As his lenses degraded, they blocked parts of the visible spectrum, and the colors he perceived grew muddy. Monet's cataracts left him struggling to paint; he complained to friends that he felt as if he saw everything in a fog. After years of failed treatments, he agreed at age 82 to have the lens of his left eye completely removed. Light could now stream through the opening unimpeded. Monet could now see familiar colors again. And he could also see colors he had never seen before. Monet began to see--and to paint--in ultraviolet." (See HERE)
“Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love.” ― Claude Monet
Rather than adding more dry facts this week (they can be read HERE; also at Wikipedia, and elsewhere, I'll post a handful of images of his springtime paintings, with a quick look at his natal chart. I shouldn't omit to mention, though, this artist's great love of gardens and gardening. Two good articles on this are at NPR, and at The Culture Concept Circle. His home and beautiful gardens in Giverny are open to visitors. It is said that these are absolutely breathtaking: "The moment you step into the garden you feel as though you have stepped into one of his paintings."

A few of his springtime impressions:


In the painting above, Monet was less interested in capturing a likeness than in studying how unblended dabs of color could suggest the effect of brilliant sunlight filtered through leaves. (HERE)

 Spring at Giverny


 An Orchard in Springtime


Born on 14 November 1840, at 7:26 PM in Paris, France.
Natal chart has rectified time only...see

Monet has been described as strongly built, with handsome dark eyes, a fine voice, and a dominant personality, he stood about 5'5" according to Army records from his youth (cited by Charles F. Stuckey). It's said that he had had an "iron constitution", and that the calmness depicted in his paintings often belied the sort of chaos that Monet could stir up in his personal dealings. He married Camille in 1870, she died aged 32 in 1879; in 1892 he married long-time friend Alice Hoschedé, who had helped him raise his two children, along with her own.

If light was Monet's "driver" it'll show up in his natal chart. Light, surely, has to relate to the element of Fire. While Monet's Scorpio Sun was in Water sign Scorpio, there were three personal planets (Mercury/Venus/Saturn) forming a stellium in Fiery Sagittarius, next door. These linked by trine aspect to Pluto in Fiery Aries. If the rectified time of birth is near correct his natal Moon would have been in the other Fire sign, Leo.

A Yod links his Watery Sun and sextiled Earthy Mars to Pluto in Aries symbolically perhaps reconciling differences in sensitivities, and highlighting the difference mentioned in a quote earlier between the calm sweet depth of his paintings and his occasionally chaotic and dominant personality.


mike said...

I concur with the mainstream that his works are incredible. What's not to like? His paintings seem trans-sensory to me...I can almost smell the fragrant air.

Interesting about Monet's UV vision post-surgery. A comment by Enver Bahar left on the link may be interpreted that Monet's extended UV-range reflected in his later paintings could be urban legend:

"According to wikipedia he got the surgery when he was 82 years old and he had only 3 years left afterwards. What is more; I found only a few paintings of waterlilies after he is 82; and it has not much more difference than others. Weirdest thing is; the painting in the background of application is painted before he got the surgery.

Could you please confirm these information? Or show me two waterlily pictures of him before and after surgery?"

Twilight said...

mike ~ Yes - I'd like to see one of his spring paintings for real - I'm sure the internet does no kind of justice to them.

Someone at this link has been researching the truth about Monet's ultra-violet capability after eye surgery in his last years:

No definite conclusion reached.

R J Adams said...

Aha! Dear old Monet. We're off to Brittany for three weeks at the end of the month, and though it's a bit out the way, we'll try and find time to visit his house and garden at Giverny. I've been before but my wife is keen to see it. It was all rebuilt after the war, of course, but it's supposed to have been restored as the original, and the gardens are a delight.

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~ Lucky, lucky you, RJ and Mrs RJ! Lovely time of the year to be going there too! I hope you'll delight us with a full report on your blog when you return.
Bon voyage!