W&N Heavyweight sketchbook & pigment liner
01 March 2007
Sketched while watching 'The Impressionists' DVD
On their first appearance in Paris in the 1870s, their paintings caused outrage in the art world, were viciously denounced by critics and rejected by the public. "They have declared war on beauty," wrote one critic.
Monet formed friendships with his fellow students, Frédéric Bazille and Auguste Renoir, at the studio of Charles Gleyre. These friendships together with artists Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas and Paul Cézanne would support and inspire him for the rest of his life.
'The Impressionists', a three part factual drama from BBC ONE, vividly reconstructs the movement's remarkable story, with Monet ( Julian Glover ) aged 80 narrating the tale to a rather flustered, young journalist at his home in Giverny.
Flashbacks to Paris beginning in 1862 with women wearing yards of fabric, that still fails to cover their full cleavage, and a group of young artists struggling against ignorance, poverty and war fill the 3 hours and pull the viewer from the sofa into a world of new birth and inspiration.
I so loved the series that I have since purchased it on DVD and have spent a further 12 hours (4 sittings) lost in the birth of impressionism.
Not a particularly good reader or historian, I find having the lives of such masters all thrown together in one spot a wonderfully easy way of realising their relationships with one another and the format their influences set upon The Salon, Paris and indeed, the world. The characters are colourful and human, the sets believable.
Watching these painters shrouded in poverty and battling with critics should make the modern artists feel somewhat grateful, nowadays art covers a much wider spectrum...one only has to visit The Tate to realise the evolution from such times. However, watching, lost in their world I can't help envy our young masters, to be able to shock with such ease, make a statement in a simple stroke that could cause so much controversy and feel compelled to educate the public on their discovery must have proved for such exciting times on reflection. One wonders what it would take to shock in the year 2007!
I find myself longing to be a part of this era...oh how fantastic it must have been to have felt the fireworks they felt when the Salon finally began to accept and appreciate their magnificence.
The Impressionists left a impression on me that I will no doubt get lost in for hours and hours to come. A cherished purchase I totally recommend.
Le Pont Japonaise - after Monet
W&N Heavyweight sketchbook & Coloured pencil
5 March 07
Colour is my day-long obsession, joy and torment - Claude Monet.