Light glided across his landscapes bringing an illumination to the art world that had the critics and society unsure of this wild, and rebellious break from structure. His brushstrokes were full of movement and intensity that transported into his canvasses a breath of nature, that glimmered and moved almost as if truly animate scenes. He created many paintings of one subject- conveying the lightness of its being through different lenses of Nature’s spectacles and shifting views.
In 1892 France, Oscar-Claude Monet attempted an architectural piece with his series of The Rouen Cathedral in Normandy. The collection of impressionist paintings made between 1892 and 1894, concluded with thirty works depicting different vistas and interpretations of the church’s facade. He set up his easel in nearby streets and buildings close to the grand Cathedral, moving locations in hopes to expand his understanding and perspective for his creations that would be completed in his studio at Giverny. The artist with his palate, captured the changing luminosity and the moving shadows that shifted in shape and quality with the hours, seasons and the evolving skies. His endeavor emulated the different moods reflected - the early morning freshness that was carried off by his hues into the late afternoon with strokes that turned the bricks into more mellow brightness. He caught the muted tones in overcast days, with the rain falling across his viewpoint turning his brushstrokes grey. And in clear evenings he swept the cathedral into the moonlit night with amber sometimes set on fire by the setting sun, until the shine melted into blueish and violet shades tinged with copper that burned softly against the impending night, where the stars would finally steal the show.
In 1894, after great study and time spent at the monument, Monet completed a masterful painting of the Rouen at first day break. The Rouen Cathedral: The Portal, also called Soleil (Sunlight), oil on canvas, held a particular quality of presence with broader brushstrokes that added a depth to the bricks and the structure, gleaming with a new day. The slumbering shadows of the hushed pinkish, and titian tones seem to be awakening as the very tops of the cathedral are set aglow by the approaching footsteps of the full, morning Sun. As the name suggests, The Portal is an entryway into a radiant scene of the beautiful cathedral that can be revisited through the fleeting moments of time of Monet’s impressionistic point of view.
Monet’s Rouen Cathedral Paintings and the Morning Sun
Monet, Self Portrait
by Claude Monet