In 1883, Claude Oscar Monet was recently married to Alice Hoschedé, and they moved together with their eight combined children to a small town called Giverny. The painter had recently lost his wife, Camille, a tragedy in his life which affected his style of painting. Alice and Monet found a property, and a house that they would soon be able to call a home – a location the Impressionist refused to leave and lived there till the rest of his days. The property had a large garden, which the painter made into his living masterpiece.
Monet painted a series of artworks of the Seine river between 1896 and 1897. He chose different weather conditions and times of the day to capture a variety of atmospheres with the same landscape. During this period, the artist created a studio in a small boat, so he could have the option of many different views to portray. The oil painting Le Bateau Atelier (The Boat Studio) is a portrayal of the studio Monet created on water.
The painting gives a lonely atmosphere, as the artist is inside the boat and covered in a shadow. He seems to be looking down while he draws or paints. The boat is small, with a roof that doesn’t allow the artist to stand, as well as a backdoor. Monet beautifully painted its reflection on the water with wavy brush strokes, with tonalities of blue and white. The river bank is filled with dark green and brown vegetation that also reflect on the water.
The Impressionists, along with Monet, were very inspired by the exotic cultures of the Orient, specifically the Japanese art. They collected Japanese woodcut prints that came to Europe with little or no value at the time, but the modern painters understood their intangible value. Artists like Hokusai worked with the Ukiyo-e technique, comparable to traditional woodcut, with vibrant pigments of watercolor and themes of the everyday life. Monet was so inspired by the Japanese art, that he constructed a Japanese bridge over his pond in his beloved garden in Giverny – a theme he portrayed hundreds of times. These exotic influences also enhanced the painter’s love for nature, as the Impressionists mainly painted en plein air, meaning they worked outside, as seen in The Boat Studio.
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