This canvas by Claude Monet, made in 1869 and now in the Metropolitan Museum in New York, is a magnificent example of the aesthetic theory of the great French painter of Impressionism.
He did not intend to paint nature as we know it to be, but as we see it. In other words, if he paints a forest in the distance, it is portrayed as a mass of color and not as endless branches and leaves in detail. Thus, we see it in reality.
Monet's La Grenouillére
I sought to represent the colors of light and also of shadows, with all their variable luminosities or their reflections. For this he renounced the traditional methods of painting. In other words, drawing, chiaroscuro or gradients, and instead he opted for a fragmented painting, with separate and vibrant brushstrokes, which not only give color, but also vibrations and create atmospheres.
It is curious to know that at one point, his friend and colleagueRenoiradvised him to go to theLouvre Museumand carefully observe the great masters of art history. Instead, Monet chose to open the window of his studio and look through it to record the impressions that reality gave him, paying special attention to the atmospheres that were created and the transparency of the nature of the colors.
That interest in atmospheres, colors and transparencies made him always fascinated by thetheme of painting water, present in his famous Argenteuil canvases, some dedicated exclusively to regattas, or in the sublime works of his last days, such as The Water Lilies, inspired and painted in his yard. And also in this Grenoulliére fabric, where the great protagonist is the body of water.
He was fascinated by the liquid element as a material on which to paint movement, transparency, reflections or depth. For this he used pure and bright colors, applied in separate brushstrokes but that the eye of the beholder can be joined until recreating the natural tones.
These experiments he did on many occasions together withRenoir, who painted this same scene of this place on the banks of the Seine river. A cloth currently on display at the National Museum in Stockholm.
Renoir's La Grenouillére
There is no doubt that from these days painting together, side by side, masterpieces emerged, but above all conversations and exchanges of ideas in which the entire pictorial argument of the impressionist movement resides19th century.