Impression, Sunrise Painting

WHO WAs claude monet?

Monet met and studied with various prominent artists and was known as one of the founders of the art movement Impressionism.

artwork in context

Impression, Sunrise (1872), known in French as Impression, Soleil Levant, by Claude Monet is an oil painting depicting the Le Havre harbor and the sun rising in the distance.

historical overview

The famous Monet sunrise painting anchored the name of the Impressionist art movement during the 19th century, albeit derived from somewhat facetious critique. 

exhibition of the impressionists

When the exhibition was held in 1874 Monet’s sunrise painting was heavily critiqued by Louis Leroy, a writer, artist, and critic at the time.

before impressionism

It is important to note that before the Impressionist movement became what we know it as today, its legacy comes from the Barbizon School.

subject matter

Monet reportedly depicted the harbor from his room viewpoint at sunrise. Near the middle left foreground, there are three rowboats. The one closest to us is darker and appears silhouetted.

subject matter

We see the expanse of the sky around the sun and above the harbor and water. It is as if Monet creates a meeting point between the water and the sky with the harbor and its ships in the middle ground.

color and light

Monet utilized color and light in Impression, Sunrise to convey the early hours of the morning. The main colors used comprise cooler blue-grayish tones, which are contrasted with the orange from the rising sun.

brushstrokes and texture

Instead of perfectly executed brushstrokes and well-contoured outlines, we see the actual markings from the brushwork.

perspective and scale

Monet presents a scene from what appears to be a slightly elevated vantage point. We are seemingly looking downwards at the boats and the expanse of water, and our viewpoint seems to be more at eye level with the rising sun.

critical impressions

Impression, Sunrise created quite an impression when it was first exhibited, and it has often been described as becoming one of Monet’s more popular pieces because of its infamy.

impressing a name

Impression, Sunrise has long been regarded as the painting that marked the name for the Impressionists, who all painted their own versions of impressions from outdoor scenes. 

a lasting impression

Monet was one of the best-known artists from the 19th century for laying the foundations for Impressionism and his unique artistic style and approach to his environment.