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Claude Monet Essay

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Claude Monet Essay: The Saint-Lazare Station

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Explain How Monet Conveyed an Attitude about Modern Parisian Life in the Painting


Claude Monet is not just an impressionist. He is one of the most spectacular personalities of this style. Strange, elusive, dissolved in the air art pieces do not only represent the life on the canvas. They lure the audience into the atmosphere of that time. Nevertheless, despite the diversity of subjects and the different stages of his creative life, Monet devotes his life mostly to the reproduction of France through his eyes. “The Saint-Lazare Station” has become one of the most memorable paintings. The point is to find out how Monet conveyed an attitude about modern Parisian life in the picture.

Description of ‘The Saint-Lazare Station’ Painting

To start with, the famous painting “The Saint-Lazare Station” is the starting point of the whole series (Monet, 1877). The overall painting is a bit blurred because of depicted trains and morning mist. Each of the three represented trains departs on its way. Because the outlines are clouded, people are almost not visible. The most precise figure is a man in a classy suit with a hat on his head. All other characters of this one-second film do not even have precise contours. At the top of the picture, it is an arched glass ceiling of the station square. The roof of the station is still under repair. The rails are seen in the below part of the artwork. In the distance, the outlines of French buildings and the contours of the city are traced (Monet, 1877). Monet paid much attention to the color scheme. The picture is drawn in beige-blue, the brown earth and the trains are of bright color spots.

Monet’s Unique Approach to Conveying the Light-and-Air Environment

Secondly, to convey the light-and-air environment, he analyzed the objects in a new way, abandoning the rules that were taught in the workshops, and completely trusted his eyesight. To forget such basic principles of academic painting as drawing and gradual transition from light to shadow, Monet makes both figures and the environment with the help of generalized light spots, the shades, and colors which depend only on lighting. There are no clear contours of objects. They seem to be blurred with the light of air movement. It is clear that Monet has both a different attitude to color and approach for displaying the reality. The very texture of the picture intensifies the sensation of the movement of air. It ceases to be smooth but consists of individual smudges. In the works of this period, attention is drawn to the integrity of the artist’s perception of the momentary events. Looking at them, the viewer has the impression of a personal presence at this endless moment of life, filled with sun, light, a crowd of people and industrial figures.

Evolution of Monet’s Paintings from Sketches to Panoramas

Every conceivable indicator makes the point; the painter has done much work on creating his very style, evolving from the basic concept of the depicted sketch-picture to the analytical approach. The picture is all about the transition. “The Saint-Lazare Station” was a turning point in the creative work of Claude Monet, when Paris and life inside it began to resemble a theatrical performance from some movie. From close-ups, parts of railway life to spacious, epic panoramas could have become an excellent imprint of the everyday environment. There is hardly painting in the world that can be compared with Monet`s “The Saint-Lazare Station.” It can be explained in many aspects. The picture is full of a novelty of the motive. It makes the reality of the Iron Age look like a work of art while preserving the freedom of painting.

Transient Life and Pictorial Spectacle in Monet’s Painting

It is worthy to note that this picture reflects the fantastic strength of the moment of transient life. All items are dissolved in the quivering air, filled with ghostly moving vapor, a whimsical dance of transparent shadows, the immateriality of which could contrast with the heavy carcasses of locomotives. Moreover, things that seem to be the least artistic in the picture is full of logical industrial forms.

What is astounding, this undeniable power of the new reality is filled with the mare`s nest of pictorial matter. The arches of the station, rails, locomotives, and arrows are so substantive albeit dissolved in the extravaganza of pulsating, trembling, condensing and melting strokes. All of the elements create the reality of a purely pictorial spectacle efficiently and accurately, where even trains are saturated with airy multicolored-ness.


To sum up, everything that was mentioned above, the Parisian life through Monet`s eyes is the “railway Paris.” “The Saint-Lazare Station” can be construed as the place where the magical conjunction of the romantic space occurs. Even ordinary and boring trains become a part of something ingenious. People who are rushing to work are actors of a multi-series movie. Even the fog in the art piece is demonstrated as a special effect. Claude Monet masterfully made every ordinary thing beautiful, giving them lightness, airiness and overflowing with romantic notes.


Monet, C. (1877). The Saint-Lazare Station. Retrieved from https://www.claude-monet.com/the-saint-lazare-station.jsp

Here you can find one more art essay example about Salvador Dali and Gala.


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