Claude Oscar Monet painted a series of almost twenty landscapes of the Palace of Westminster in London. The paintings date from 1899 to 1905 and all portray the same perspective, as he painted them from the same spot. What differed from one artwork to another was the weather and time of day he executed them – meaning the artist experimented with different approaches to Impressionist brush strokes as well as a variety of color palettes.
Modern painters would usually go against the traditional standards of the Classic Academies – based on the works of the Renaissance masters – and their style of painting was never well received by the Paris Salon. Because of this opposition, the Japanese art came as a great fit for an alternative source of inspiration. Artists produced woodcut prints in the Ukiyo-e technique with watercolors and rice paper, for example, Hokusai. These artworks portrayed beautiful scenes in nature, which influenced the Impressionists to work en plein air, or outside. By painting outdoors, the artists were able to observe how sunlight affects the view of a landscape.
During this period, Monet was no longer finishing his artworks on spot but would take them back to complete in his studio. This was of working caused criticism from other modern painters, but Monet was firm in his practice, and eventually, his work brought him great success. In Houses Of Parliament Sunset, the modern painter grasps the concept of a drastic sunset with the use of a vibrant and complementary color palette. The sky looks like it’s flaming with pigments of yellow, orange, red and magenta – the same colors reflect on the water.
As a contrast to this area of hot color, the rest of the water, as well as the building, was painted in black, blue and purple. The artist knowingly pairs these contrasting colors – yellow with purple and orange with blue – to create unity in the artwork. The way the artist copies the same composition from his earlier paintings, with a different natural lighting and weather conditions is genuinely an Impressionistic way of painting. This way, Monet studied the effects different light had on a landscape and the colors it created – joining, of course, with his artistic and intuitive interpretation of the scene.
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