Claude Oscar Monet painted The Olive Tree Wood In The Moreno Garden in 1884. After traveling during an extensive period at the beginning of the 1880s, the newlywed artist and his wife, Alice, along with their many children, moved to Giverny, a small village. This move was just a year before the conclusion of this painting.
At first, the Impressionist began to cultivate his garden to use as a subject for studies, especially during periods of severe weather, which made it difficult for him to wander and find new landscapes. However, Monet met other artists that also aspired to work far from the frenetic pace of the Parisian city-life, which also moved to the countryside. These Impressionist artists developed a love for horticulture, and it became a hobby and passion for Monet. His garden was portrayed by many other Impressionists, including Pierre Auguste Renoir.
In The Olive Tree Wood In The Moreno Garden, Monet used an unusual composition by placing the ground diagonally. The bottom left corner depicts an earthy soil in warm tonalities of brown, as well as spots of green vegetation and yellow specks of light. The trees in the forefront are in the shadows, possibly cast by larger plants. The olive trees can be seen in the distance with lighter shades of the same colors. The artwork has a fantastical atmosphere, for the perspective is not very clear, and the viewer loses the sense of space. The overall canvas is painted with an Impressionistic technique, as Monet used expressive and visible brushstrokes.
The group’s interest in gardening and nature was also due to the Japanese woodcut prints that came to Europe at the time. This exotic new art was exciting and broke many of the traditional values preached by the Classic academies. Modern artists mainly went against the current when it came to following the molds of ancient Greek art, so the Japanese art came as a great alternative source of inspiration. Artists like Hokusai were admired for portraying subjects of nature and the every-day life in a simple manner. The unique aesthetic of the woodcut print allows the use of bright, pure colors, and dark contours. The use of perspective and composition is unusual in the Japanese art, something that also influenced modern painters.
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