Saint Lazarus Station, Monet

Saint Lazarus Station, Monet
Saint Lazarus Station, Monet

Throughout the 19th century Paris became the capital of art par excellence so that any painter or artist had to pass through the French capital if they wanted to discover the bohemian and cultural atmosphere that existed at the time. Painters from all over the world flocked to Paris to see the new exhibitions that were taking place there or simply to stroll through the bustle of its streets. In this way, the city gradually became the nerve center of European art at the time, a cosmopolitan environment that favored the development of a new artistic conception.


It was precisely the painters based in Paris who contributed to the development of this atmosphere of cultural flourishing in the capital, many of the Impressionists –see Renoir, Degás or Manet himself- who had moved to the countryside to paint Under their concept of plain air, or outdoor painting, they returned to the city to become painters of mundane modernity. Perhaps it was Monet who returned to the city the longest, but at the end of the 1970s the artist left Argenteuil in search of the hustle and bustle of the capital.

Perhaps much of the drive that the artist needed to leave the countryside and re-establish himself in the city was found in the critics of the time like Zola who encouraged artists to abandon past times and become reporters from yourtime,looking for inspiration in modernity. In this context, the artist began to create a series of canvases in 1877 whose protagonist was the greatest exponent of modernity, the railway.

The artist settled in the San Lázaro Station to represent its lighting environment with a total of twelve canvases – let us remember that Monet was passionate about lighting effects and for this reason he dedicated himself to making numerous paintings of the same theme with different lights, coming to make series such as Los Nenúfares or Rouen Cathedral- in them the conjunction of metallic modernity merges with the steam of trains and movement. The artist himself defends his series of paintings with these words:

However, the work was not easy and for this the artist had to rent a small studio in the vicinity of the station as well as request permission from the station director for the locomotives to delay their departures or expel large amounts of smoke. In this way, the geometric shapes of the metallic structure are combined with a vaporous atmosphere that the artist has been able to recreate with his brushes thanks to a large load of impasto and small brush touches that overlap to recreate colors and lights.

Despite the fact that in the end they are a set of twelve canvases, in all of them the cold tones are appreciated with wide ranges of blues, violets, grays and touches of white.

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