Impressionism; Compares And Contrasts The Style Of Monet And Cezanne Essay, Research Paper
A new work on impressionism can t claim to throw new light on a subject, which has been repeatedly and thoroughly discussed and written about. Attitudes toward and ideas about art, like everything else, undergo changes, modifications, and shifts of emphasis. Today, we look upon the impressionists not only as revolutionaries who defied the academic traditions of their age, not only as the successors of Delacroix, Courbet, and Corot, but also as the prophets and precursors of modern painting. Impressionism heralded a new attitude toward art. The impressionist, in overthrowing the old, gave birth to a new tradition.
The spirit of youthful creativity fired impressionism. Never before in the history of art had a group of young, inspired painters be friend each other, worked together so fruitfully, and eventually represents nothing more, nothing else than the history of theses friendships, which painting as its common denominator.
In 1859, the young Claude Monet came to Paris a bit lost, but full of enthusiasm. Soon he was to become the master, He had met the already established marine painter Bounden in Le Havre, and the friendliness and honesty of the old painter had soon won him over. He needed Boudin s advice .study, learn to see and paint, do landscapes. The ocean and the sky, animals, people, and trees. The Ocean and the sky, animals, people, and trees- just as nature created them- are so beautiful in their own setting of light and air, just as they are—All that is painted directly, at a given moment, has a force, power, and vitality which can never be duplicated in the studio. x (Mathey 39) Monet went out into the country of France. To him, the treasures of nature seemed far more precious than those enclosed within museum walls. He took his friends to Chailly on the edge of the Fontainebleau forest near Barbizon. This flight from the city led to the first encounter of these young painters with the plain air motif, here, under the open sky, they found themselves being carried away by the sense of newly discovered freedom, they became intoxicated with what Theodore Rousseau had called the .Virginal contract with nature. x Monet started a new cycle when, stimulated by the splendor of the turners at the National Gallery back in 1870, he began to develop the possibilities of transporting the play of direct and sunlight to canvas.
With the thickening of impressionistic mists and vapors, new Dynamics, soon to draw like sharply revealing lightnings, were steadily generating. A breaking-up of old time, considerations of techniques, a brand new layout on prismatic a complex weaving of brush strokes that merely approximated form- these innovations in painting had wrought sufficient considerations in the camp of conservatives; but the general reaction to Impressionistic was as nothing compared to the storm that broke loose in Paris with the first realization of what the new pictorial formulas bearing Cezanne s confirmation implied. The transitional steps leading from the light-hearted, gently modulation of tone and manipulation of accent of the plain-air painters to the highly charged and incisive handling of the Master of Aix are not easy to detect, for Cezanne himself had little of nothing in common with the practices and preferences of Monet and his friends, although he was to inherit something of the general lightness of brush work that Cain in with Impressionism. Excessive concentration on volume and flow of form was apparent from the first in Cezanne s painting, as is clearly set forth in his Man in a Blue Cap in the Bliss collection a study made prior to Monet s historic visit to the National Gallery. This advance from the tonal pleasantly and sunny platitudes of Monet to the searching, searing, inventions of Cezanne would seem to parallel the course of event in the field of electrical phenomena where the early manifestations of light and power were slowly but surely superceded by an increasingly significant and determined control of this all-transforming element. And so the luminous complacency of the impressionists.
Later in his life Monet denied having being theoretician. If the secret of Monet s work had consisted solely in a skillful juggling of colors, a rapid notation of a momentary effect, then indeed his dangerous experiment would have been nothing but a new academic formula. But a method of painting is far important than the sensitivity of the painter, and if Monet s work can be said to have been motivated by an inner necessity, if was one which confirmed to the international taste of his time which seems to dissolve form, a dreamlike lyricism. Inspired by England, but one, which cannot be divorced from his profound feeling for a world in movement a cosmic reality in which the miraculous and the enhancing are more real than nature, itself. Reflection the mere suggestion of the object that renders it far more seductive than reality itself, and the resultant disembodiment of the concrete world surrounding us, there were Monet s contributions to painting.
In Cezanne we reach a peak of pictorial fever and effulgence that definitely separated the long progression of European art from the newly conditioned epoch that has come to be known as modernism, and we may well look upon him as the great divide of painting. No one man has ever excited such a potent spell on art as this simple minded but marvelously informed and informing artist. Denied a place among the leaders of the day, thrown utterly upon his own resources, he was obliged to his own driving sense of beauty. His beloved Aix came to have for him the seclusion and security of laboratory. The art world of our own time, responsive to the throb and beat of Cezanne s inspired orchestration of effect as to no other single influence, has readily profited by this realignment of pictorial forces, the essential idea of which Clive Bell has so happily summarized in his phrase .significant form x.
In his desire to .get away from the exact mechanical reproduction of that imaginary mirror-like level onto which, in the act of vision, we conventionally project thing. x Read points our how Cezanne was continually projecting .a metaphysical conception of painting; a nation that there existed in the sense-data of the painter a .real x vision independent of the intellect and beyond, at the back of , the emotions x (Stieglitz 160)
Francois Mathey The Impressionists Fredrick A. Praeger Publishers
New York 1961
America and Alfred Stleglitz The Literary Guild New York