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Painting the Light: The “Eternal” Claude Monet, Part 1 of 2

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Claude Monet was a prolific painter in the impressionist style of painting developed in France during the mid-to-late 19th century. He was born on November 14, 1840, in Paris, France. Claude Monet had entered the Le Havre secondary school of the arts at the age of 11. Young Monet’s caricatures were well-liked and very popular.

Monet’s local success caught the attention of Eugène Boudin, one of the great seascape painters of the 19th century. By and by, Boudin succeeded in talking the young Monet into coming along with him on his outings. Thus, Monet began plein air painting, meaning painting the outdoors, and to use oil paints as his medium. Monet also paid a similar tribute to Eugène Boudin, saying, “If I became a painter, it was thanks to Boudin.”

He first gained acceptance to the Salon in 1865, with two seascape paintings. In 1874, Monet and 30 other artists organized their own exhibition in response to their habitual rejection by the famous Salon exhibition. Monet’s “Impression, Sunrise” received the most attention and was mocked by art critic Louis Leroy. Leroy wrote the now-famous article in which he coined the term “Impressionist” based on the title of Monet’s painting. And so, “Impression, Sunrise” gave its name to the Impressionist movement.

Claude Monet met Camille-Léonie Doncieux, his beautiful model and muse-to-be, in a Paris bookshop in 1865. Monet rewarded Camille’s devotion and love by making her “eternal” through his paintings. Featured in art galleries and national museums all over the world, the paintings of his beloved Camille include “The Woman in the Green Dress,” “Women in the Garden,” “Springtime,” and “Woman with a Parasol,” to name just a few.

In 1870, Claude Monet had fled France and settled in London, UK, for some time. The city appealed to the artist. He was especially intrigued by the smokey fog of the English capital, which created incredible plays of light. The following year in the Dutch city of Zaandam, a city of canals, shipyards, and thousands of windmills, Monet happily produced 24 canvases in just three months.
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