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Claude monet

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Claude monet

Claude Monet

Claude Monet was born in Paris on the 14th November 1840. When he was five years old, he moved to the port town of Le Havre. Most of his childhood, Monet was considered by both his teachers and his parents to be undisciplined and, therefore, unlikely to make a success of his life. Enforcing this impression, Monet showed no interest in inheriting his father's wholesale grocery. The only thing, which seemed to spark any interest in the child, was painting. He developed a decent reputation in school for the caricatures he enjoyed creating. By the age of fifteen, he was receiving money for his work.

It was at Le Havre that Monet met the painter Eug'ne Boudin. While Boudin's own paintings have never been held in that high regard, he is seen as having played a critical role in the education of Monet. Born of a seafaring family in 1824, Boudin was obsessed with the idea of painting outdoors or in plain air .The two painters met in 1856 and, at first, Monet resisted Boudin's offer of tuition but he eventually relaxed his hesitations and before long, the two had a relationship that was to last a lifetime. Although Monet soon left Le Havre to spend a large part of his life travelling throughout Europe, he returned frequently to visit his old friend. The interest that had been made some years earlier was refined and shaped.

"My eyes were finally opened and I understood nature; I learned at the same time to love it." Boudin may have opened Monet's eyes, he may have even convinced the young painter to break with tradition and finish his paintings outdoors, but the young prot'g'' had yet to truly experience the country's capital. Before long, the lectures of Le Havre on a the young artist came to a end and, in 1859, Monet left for Paris. However, bringing himself to the heart of Europe's art-world, Monet soon found to be disillusioned by the confines of long-since-established principles. He rejected the formal art training that was available in Paris. Bored and frustrated, Monet was to do more painting at the very relaxed Acad'mie Suisse, then in the formal schools for which he had left Le Havre.

In the spring of 1862, Monet was called up for National Service. He went to Algeria for a year with a prestigious regiment: les Chaussures d'Afrique. This experience was to have a big effect on Monet. The landscapes and colors of Algeria presented an entirely different perspective of the world, one, which was to inspire him for many years to come. Theoretically, Monet should have remained in Algeria for seven years, but his time there was cut short by the contraction of typhoid. The artist's aunt, Madame Lecadre, intervened and bought Monet out of the army. Her only condition was that Monet returns to Paris and makes a serious attempt at completing a formal artistic tuition course.

Despite those requests, Monet did not enroll in l''cole des Artistes . It was a renowned institution, but one filled with the traditionalists that Monet was so determined to go against. Instead, he joined the studio of the Swiss-born Charles Gleyre. Gleyre was a successful Salon painter but he was neither a professor at the 'cole nor was he a member of the Acad'mie. Remembering his own poverty as a student artist, Gleyre charged very little, only 10 francs for models and the studio. This leniency attracted a large number of artists. The student body, such as it existed, was extremely diverse: young, old; rich, poor; good, bad, etc. Among them all, however, Monet was to meet three very close and influential friends: Fr'd'ric Bazille, Auguste Renoir and Alfred Sisley. While all three of these painters were talented, they came from very different social backgrounds. Noticeably, Renoir was considerably less well-off then his

fellow artists. The unifying force that was to bind the group for so long, however, was the commitment and intense dedication to their new approach to art. One was eventually to be called impressionism.

Gleyre was a very talented instructor and all his students benefited from his persistent teaching methods. Monet remained at his studio for approximately two years. Throughout this time, Monet, Renoir, Sisley and Bazille made frequent trips to the nearby forest of Fontainbleau - located Southeast of Paris. This forest had been a popular venue for artists for a number of years. However, this new group broke the tradition of their predecessor's paintings by replacing subdued colors and dark shadows with open spaces and sunlight. When Monet was not fulfilling his need to be outdoors by going to Fontainbleau, he was visiting his old friend, Boudin, in Le Havre. There can be no doubt as to his enthusiasm during this time.<...

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