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Impression, Sunrise

Impression, Sunrise by Claude Monet
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Artist: Claude Monet    Image Code: V03781

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  • Artist: Claude Monet

    Claude Monet (November 14, 1840-December 5, 1926) is arguably the most important figure in the foundation of the French Impressionist school of painting. Its most consistent and prolific practitioner, Monet applied the movement's philosophy of exploring and expressing one's perceptions before nature, particularly in his well-known landscape paintings. In fact, the term Impressionism is derived from the title of his 1872 painting Impression, Sunrise (Impression, soleil levant). Inspired by the Barbizon painters of the early-nineteenth century, Monet's dedication to painting en plein air led him to question the formalized European traditions of color, composition, and representation. Monet's studies of French landscapes, leisurely activities of the upper-middle class, portraits, architecture, and garden scenes are recognized as seminal influences on not only the late 1800s, but also the painters of the early twentieth century. Monet died in Giverny in 1926, and his home and prolific garden were bequeathed to the French Academy of Fine Arts, and are currently open to the public. 

    View all of Claude Monet's work.

  • Artwork Details

    The namesake of the Impressionist movement, arguably the most important development in nineteenth-century painting, Impression, Sunrise (Impression, Soleil Levant) is one of Claude Monet's most famous paintings. Composed in 1872, the oil painting depicts the harbor in Le Havre, France at dawn. Monet explained his choice of title in later years, writing, "Landscape is nothing but an impression, and an instantaneous one." Monet relays this in the painting through his loose brush strokes and blending of colors; nothing is strictly delineated or fixed. Though the canvas is fairly small, just less than 4 square feet, the painting has become one of the most popular images worldwide. Residing in the MusŽe Marmottan Monet in Paris, it has attracted thousands of visitors to the museum, and was even the target of a 1985 theft. Along with a handful of other master impressionist works, Impression, Sunrise was stolen at gunpoint and was missing for five years until its recovery in 1990. Its calming atmosphere and luminous colors have made the painting one of the most renowned in the world, and its importance in the history of art cannot be overstated.