Claude Monet

Claude MonetClaude Oscar Monet was one of the founders of the French Impressionist movement. He was also considered as one of its most prolific and most consistent practitioner, the role model for practicing the art philosophy of expressing individual perceptions of nature and trying to replicate it into the canvas in an effort to capture realism. In fact, the term Impressionism was taken from one of Monet works, "Impression, Sunrise", the term from which the movement came to be known.

Monet was born on November 14, 1840 in Paris, France. He was the second son of Claude Adolphe and Louise Justine Monet. His father ran a marine supply store when they relocated in Le Havre while Monet’s mother was known as a singer. Monet was able to spend most of his youth in Le Havre where he developed his artistic inclination drawing caricatures of the locals. His amusing depictions of the local folk often led him to trouble in and out of school.

Despite the troubles that Monet went into because of his caricatures, his mother continued encouraging him to develop his natural talent. He became interested later on with painting when he met Eugene Boudin, who taught Monet how to paint scenes in nature. Monet’s mother died by the time he was 16 years old. He went on to live with his widowed and childless aunt, Marie Jeanne Lecadre.

Monet went on to study at the prestigious Ecole des Beaux Arts. But still having a natural rebellious attitude, he went to go against the school’s traditional views of art and painting. He eventually left and studied at Academie Suisse.

Monet started to go against the traditional approach to art when he visited The Louvre in Paris. While other artists were trying to copy the styles of the old masters, Monet started painting what he saw in the streets of Paris. Monet stayed in the city for several years where he came to meet other like minded painters who became his fellow impressionists later on.

Monet joined the military that went to Algeria for two years in June of 1861. His seven year engagement was shortened when he contracted typhoid and was asked to return home with the intervention of his aunt and studied art instead. But he continued to develop portraying scenes from nature into canvas instead of using the traditional method.

It was in 1872 when he painted "Impression, Sunrise" which depicted a Le Havre landscape. It was displayed at the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874. The term "Impressionism" was coined by an art critic Louis Leroy to identify this painting style and was meant to be derogatory.

However, the impressionists came to embrace the term for their movement and thus became known as such, thanks to Monet’s work. Monet went on paint several other noted paintings such as his Water Lilies series of painting. He also went on to become one of the forces behind the acceptance of the Impressionist movement in fine art. Monet died in December 5, 1926 at the ripe old age of 86.

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