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kottke.org posts about Claude Monet

Claude Monet’s War Paintings

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 24, 2022

This is another great episode of James Payne’s Great Art Explained on the work of Claude Monet, specifically the massive water lily canvases he completed before his death, created as “a war memorial to the millions of lives tragically lost in the First World War”.

Claude Monet is often criticised for being overexposed, too easy, too obvious, or worse, a chocolate box artist. His last works, the enormous water lily canvasses are among the most popular art works in the world.

Yet there is nothing tame, traditionalist, or cosy about these last paintings. These are his most radical works of all. They turn the world upside down with their strange, disorientating and immersive vision.

Monet’s water lilies have come to be viewed as simply an aesthetic interpretation of the garden that obsessed him. But they are so much more.

These works were created as a direct response to the most savage and apocalyptic period of modern history. They were in fact conceived as a war memorial to the millions of lives tragically lost in the First World War.

I’ve seen these paintings at the Musée de l’Orangerie — amazing to see them exactly the way in which the artist intended them to be seen.

See also Film of Claude Monet Painting Water Lilies in His Garden (1915) and Monet’s Ultraviolet Vision.

See 1540 Paintings by Claude Monet in Two Hours

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 24, 2021

In just over two hours, this video presents 1540 paintings by impressionist master Claude Monet, a significant portion of his lifetime output. This is a really intriguing way to look at art. It’s not in-person and you don’t get a lot of time with each piece, but the video is HD, you can pause or slow the playback speed, and by seeing a lot of work over a short span of time, you can get a real sense of the stylistic choices and variations across Monet’s oeuvre — a view of the forest rather than the trees. (via open culture)

Art Zoom

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 26, 2019

Google Arts & Culture, with expertise from music video geniuses La Blogothèque, have produced a series of videos they’re calling Art Zoom. Inspired a bit by ASMR, the videos feature musicians talking about famous artworks while they zoom in & out of high-res images taken with Google’s Art Camera. Here, start with Maggie Rogers talking about Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night:

You can zoom into Starry Night yourself and get even closer than this:

Starry Night Closeup

The other two videos in the series feature Jarvis Coker talking about Monet’s La Gare Saint Lazare and Feist talking about The Tower of Babel by Pieter Bruegel the Elder.

Film of Claude Monet Painting Water Lilies in His Garden

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 16, 2015

From 1915, a short film of Claude Monet painting one of his series of Water Lilies paintings. Monet created about 250 oil paintings depicting the lilies and other flowers in his flower garden at Giverny.

Open Culture has posted a few other videos of old masters at work and at leisure, including Edgar Degas, Auguste Renoir, and Auguste Rodin.

Monet’s Ultraviolet Vision

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 17, 2012

In a review of the Color Uncovered iPad app, Carl Zimmer highlights something I hadn’t heard before: Claude Monet could see in ultraviolet.

Late in his life, Claude 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.

The condition is called aphakia.