Classicism was the main way of expression in the art during the 19th century. However, the development of the train and discovery of the photography moved the Art forward. Johan Barthold Jongkind, the famous Dutch painter, is well-known in the world of Art as a forerunner of the Impressionism.
Claude Monet was the second son in the family and his family hoped that he will continue the family business and be as his father. However, young Oscar, all in the family called him so, had a huge desire to become an artist. After the death of his mother, Monet moved to his aunt Le Havre and started taking first art lessons at Jacques – Francois Ochard’s studio. Later on, he met his best friend and future mentor Eugene Boudin, who taught him how to use oil paints in a plain air techniques. Boudin and Monet were influenced by the work of the Jongkind.
In 1974, in Nadar’s photography Gallery, the Rejected (was a name for new artist, who had no place to exhibit their pieces of Art) had their first exhibition. Monet, Renoir, Sisley, Cezanne and Pissarro were representatives of the “Anonymous Society of painters, sculptors and engravers”. During this salon, Claude Monet presented one of the famous French paintings Impression: Sunrise (Pic.1). To add, when Monet was asked to name the painting, he took some time to think and later said simply-Impression. The painting was stolen in 1985 from the Musee Marmottan Monet and was returned in 1991.
As a result of Louis Leroy’s critic, nowadays, we are using the word impression for definition of direction in Art. According to Leroy, when he saw Monet’s Impression: Sunrise for the first time, he thought that his glasses are dirty; instead of this, he saw impression, but the sea. There was no up and down for him in this painting.
Monet together with his friend continued to develop the concept of the Impressionism. Technique of Impressionism is famous for agile long touches with full of painting material brash. All impressionists paid a lot of attention to the play of light and shadow, trying to transfer the idea of the photography, which caught the impression on the canvas. Moreover, impressionists tried to avoid black colors. In their opinion, there is no pure white, as the shadows are not black.
Monet’s Impression: Sunrise really makes an impression. Dr. Margaret Livingstone, professor of neurobiology, conducted one interesting research. She made a black and white copy of the Impression: Sunrise in order to show the difference in luminance and color. For one the sun is the brightest spot on the canvas. Nevertheless, it has the same brightness as the sky in overall. However, when looking at the copy, the sun disappears and one can observe the play of light and shadows.
From my point of view, the painting has a deeper meaning. It reminds me about my early years near seaside. The fresh air and the rising sun were the best beginning of the day. For some people, this picture can be a representation of an ordinary day. For me, though, it shows the beauty of the present moment, which Claude Monet managed to catch. The brightness of the sun shows, that not everything, what shines, is good. Moreover, we cannot uproot it from the sky, despite the fact that the sun seems to be the bright spot you want to erase. It represents the life and its transience.
In my opinion, the name, which Monet chose for the painting, gives the deeper perspective for understanding the idea of the Impressionism. Impression as a word has many synonyms: effect, imprint, pressure, idea, notion etc. Even if photoghraphy can catch the moment and represent it in a while, people will continue to wonder and exalt the power of human imagination and dedication to the work.