Oscar-Claude Monet, better known as Claude Monet (November 14, 1840 – December 5, 1926), was a prolific French painter and the father of impressionist painting, an art movement named after Monet’s famous painting Impression, Soleil Levant (Sunrise). As an artist, Claude Monet was the most consistent exponent of the impressionist movement’s style of expressing art from nature’s perspective, particularly with Plein-air (open-air) landscape painting.
Monet’s art was mainly known for capturing nature’s most delicate sceneries and their evasive nuances in various perceptions of light and color. This article will look further at the individuals who influenced Claude Monet and helped shape his art.
Monet’s Early Life
Born in November 1840, Claude Monet was the second son of Claude-Adolphe Monet and Louise-Justine Aubrée Monet. The young Monet was raised in Le Havre, Normandy, a region in northern France, and from an early age, he’d picked up an interest in drawing the world he explored outdoors. His hobby soon grew into an ambition to capture details of the French countryside by implementing an artistic style of repeatedly painting the same scenery to depict the changes in lighting and seasons.
While his father wanted him involved in the family business, his mother encouraged his artistic pursuits, making them very close. Upon her death in January 1857, a devastated 16-year-old Monet was sent to live with his wealthy aunt, Marie-Jeanne Lecadre, who was herself a widow.
Monet’s love for art led him to study at the Académie Suisse, a famous art school during his time founded by Martin François Suisse. There, he came under the tutelage of academic history painter Charles Gleyre and was classmates with fellow French impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir. It was around this time that Monet’s passion was fanned by certain individuals whose influences impacted his successful career when he created the best of Claude Monet artworks.
Boudin was a critical early influence who introduced Monet to the concept of Plein air painting, an open-air style of landscape art. Boudin himself was a seaman who had dabbled into seascape and other forms of landscape painting.
Around the time they met, Monet had already garnered a reputation for himself in Paris with his charcoal sketches. However, Boudin saw great potential and thought the budding artist could do more than his sketches. Boudin urged him to abandon his caricatures for painting; he is reported to have said to a young Monet, “I want you to see the light!”.
After giving in to Boudin’s words, the two men painted landscapes in the open air using portable painting materials to capture nature at the moment. Soon after, Monet became enamored with the natural art form and went on to create his first impressionist painting. He is reported to have described this occurrence as being similar to having a curtain opened before his eyes.
Johann Barthold Jongkind
Jongkind was a Dutch Landscapist whose art boldly reflected the Dutch landscape tradition while also awakening the development of Impressionism. His paintings typically featured scenes like riverbanks and picturesque renditions of Paris.
In 1862, he met Claude Monet, and from there, the two men worked together at various times on the coast of Normandy. This involved several watercolor paintings in open-air nature.
Monet learned a lot from Jongkind’s depictions of atmosphere and his fleeting light effects and reflections style. Jongkind undeniably left an indelible mark on Monet’s life and career that, when speaking about him, Monet explained, “I owe to him the definitive education of my eye.”
Manet was a French modernist. He was one of the earliest 19-century painters to illustrate modern life and a key figure in transitioning from Realism to Impressionism.
Often straddling both art forms, Manet implemented a ” Tachism ” technique by painting in color patches, cutting out in-between shades to create sharper contrasts. Manet’s art soon influenced Paris’s Impressionists, who modified his color patching method into tinier patches or flecks of color.
Claude Monet was one of such impressionists in Paris to be significantly influenced by Manet’s art style, joining the troupe which met weekly near Manet’s studio at café Guerbois. This influence is noticeable in several of Monet’s paintings; from broad and colorful strokes to sharp contrasts, Monet’s style is reminiscent of Manet’s audacious and innovative impressions.
Hokusai was a Japanese artist best known for his woodblock print art, the Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji, a series inspired by his obsession with Mount Fuji. The series includes an internationally acclaimed print, The Great Wave off Kanagawa.
The Japanese influence on European art became so widespread that it earned Japonism. Moreover, Japonism seriously challenged Europe’s perception of artistic beauty; in fact, it is believed Gustave Courbet’s 1869 series of Atlantic ocean paintings were greatly inspired by Hokusai’s The Great Wave of Kanagawa.
Claude Monet was another European artist who admired Hokusai’s work. During the Exposition Universelle in Paris, Monet acquired 23 Ukiyo-e (Japanese art genre) prints by Hokusai, which covered the walls of his Giverny home. Additionally, he adopted Japanese-style aesthetics in some of his works, like La Japonaise and The Lily Water Pond. Some even say Hokusai’s influence on Monet extended into his home with his wife Camille often wearing Kimonos.
Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley and Frederic Bazille
These were also French artists who became friends with Monet and had minor influences on his art. He met them at Académie Suisse, and their shared ideals and passions quickly led to a strong friendship.
The four of them often worked and developed art together with two others (Renoir and Bazille), also having successful careers in art.
Conclusion: Molded by Artistic Influences
Great men are shaped by their experiences. Monet, the great man in focus here, was indeed molded by various influences during his life, all of which contributed to the success he is today remembered for. You can check out Claude Monet paintings online as well as in art galleries and learn more about Monet artists.