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Lesson Plans


Is Monet indeed an Impressionist?

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Ellyn Wenk (ellyn)
Thu, 29 Jul 1999 12:11:37 -0500


Dear ArtsEdNet group,
Here is an email post I received from my brother. He is so
articulate in his refusal to believe that Monet was indeed an
impressionist that I was wondering what the rest of you feel
about this idea?

I know zip about Monet except that he was "supposed" to be
an Impressionist. Well, if that is how the Gurus of Art deem him,
then
so be it. But to me he is no Impressionist. I actually like some
of his
work. Now I know what Impressionism is because music also has its

Impressionists: Debussy, Ravel, etc. The idea is that one trys to
create
an "atmosphere" without attention to detail or structure. True
musical
Impressionism uses beautiful chord structures, big, fat, lush
chords
which can aurally "go" anywhere because they include almost every
note of
the scale. There is little feeling of Tonic with Impressionistic
music.
No sense of Form or structure. Monet does not fit this
description.
Therefore, to me, he is no Impressionist. I don't know who is,
but Monet
ain't! His form is very good, the feeling of width and depth and
structure are quite apparent. This is not Impressionism. I don't
know
what to call it but I would say he painted so that "light" was
the key
feature of his creations. Even his darker works have a structural
use of
light and shadow totally unlike Impressionism. Perhaps he is
deemed
Impressionistic because of the period in which he painted. As the
word
implies, impressions are not accurate. They are holistic, not
structural. So I don't know were the great "they" come off
calling him
Impressionistic. I even went to a few sites tonight to try to
find some
Impressionistic paintings by him. Obviously I failed.
. I would like to know where the "impressions" are if you know.
What I see in his painting is line and
form and above all the interplay of light and shapes to "define "
(not
suggest or impress or imply) temperature and emotion.
I'm not trying to dictate anything but I do appreciate
Monet; I do not find impressions in his works. They are clear,
cold ad
concise yet emotional.
It is interesting that both music and art came to a point
in the last
century where the leading eggheads felt "everything" that could
be done
had been done. Obviously they were grossly mistaken else we would
have
had no new artistic endeavors for the last 150 years. I do not
buy the
idea that the photograph obviated the painting. No way! A
photograph is
a stagnant moment in time. It can be beautiful, obviously, but it
can
never approach the beauty of form, depth, line and light that
painting
does. Photos are limited by field and focal width. When one's
camera is
6 feet from a tree one's photo will only include a fixed height,
width
and depth; when one paints the same scene he can include much,
much more
than any photographer can even dream of. I do not go along with
the idea
that photography freed artists from the need to accurately
portray
people, places and things. This idea that miasmic hints or
impressions
of the tangibles of life are art is ludicrous. Such blurry,
furry,
scurrilous impressions may evoke emotions but so does every kid
in
grammar school and every laborer who wields a 6-inch paint brush
across
the siding of a suburban ranch house. These are not artists. They
may be
called decorators, interior or exterior, but artists? No way.
First the
reality of vision and mind must be mastered completely as far as
form,
depth of field and texture are concerned. Then an artist puts his
own
emotions into the modification of reality to create vicarious
emotions
in his audience.
Ah, well, what do I know, eh? The long and short of it is
that I like
Monet but cannot abide his rank as an Impressionist.
Ed


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