Claude Monet (1840-1926) gave the Impressionist movement its name and was one of its most successful and best-known artists. Before Impressionism was fashionable or accepted by the artistic elite, Monet was on the forefront of this revolutionary style.
Paintings such as Impression Sunrise and La Gare Saint-Lazare exemplify the Impressionist style, with their hazy portrayals of light, air, and motion, allowing the essential elements of the work to shine through. These works drew harsh criticism from many of Monet's contemporaries, but some realized that Monet was exploring a whole new way to paint.
Throughout Monet's life, his paintings focused on outdoor scenes, be they landscapes featuring the Seine river, haystacks in the fading sun, close-ups of blue-green water lilies, or even a portrayal of turkeys in a field. Many themes captured Monet's artistic attention, but nature was always his primary inspiration.
Learn more about Monet's life and his large body of Impressionist paintings in these articles:
Claude Monet Biography: Monet was born in Paris in 1840 and spent his life finding settings throughout France and beyond to explore his artistic inspiration.
Claude Monet Paintings 1861-1874: Monet's early paintings were often marine scenes, showing the Seine river, sailboats, or stormy coasts.
Claude Monet Paintings 1879-1886: Monet continued to explore nature scenes during this time of his life, finding inspiration in the world around him.
Claude Monet Giverny Paintings: At Giverny, Monet's famous love of water lilies began, resulting in painting after painting of the aquatic plants.
Claude Monet Paintings 1889-1894: The effects of light on a landscape had always interested Monet, and in this period he explored those effects on haystacks in an extensive series of paintings.
Claude Monet Paintings 1900-1908: Urban settings and contemporary technology figured prominently in many of Monet's paintings. Modern bridges, train stations, and the hustle and bustle of city life all inspired his brush.
Claude Monet Paintings 1914-1926: As his life drew to a close, Monet tackled large-scale works, but he stayed true to his nature and focused primarily on landscapes and outdoor scenes.