Thursday, January 8, 2009
The Portal of Rouen Cathedral, 1894
Image and location: Getty Center Los Angeles
One of over 30 paintings of the Rouen Cathedral
in Rouen, France, the series of the Rouen Cathedral is a favorite of mine. I was never a fan of Monet. Looking at his work as an introduction to Impressionism I found his paintings, in the mind of a teenager, pretty boring. I focused on the late 19th century for a lecture when I was a TA in grad school and as a result my thoughts have shifted dramatically. While I am still not particularly interested in the most famous of Monet's works such as his water lilies (maybe it is the subject matter) much of his other work is fascinating to me.
His focus on one subject throughout the varying lights of day is beautiful and smart. Monet positioned himself in a studio across the street working through 2 different periods of time over the course of 2 years, 1892-93. Most of the paintings are dated 1894 due to Monet returning to his regular studio in order to complete the paintings. He worked from life but reworked the paintings in order to get the full affects he wanted. I've always been a fan of architecture in painting, and the range of mood expressed through one building (and one view) is wonderful.