November 14 marks the birth of one of the art world's most beloved painters, Claude Monet. Monet was one of the first painters to explore impressionism, which gained popularity in France and Europe in the 19th Century. As art movements go, impressionism has stuck around both in admiration and reputation. Some of the most memorable and noted works are those of Monet's, and our very own MFAH has had quite a few under their watch over the years; last year's Impressionists exhibition showcased several.
Monet is an artist's artist as much as he is loved by the everyman. And he is also revered by collectors; one of his works sold for a record $41.4 million in 2008, and he went on to beat his own record when another piece sold at auction for more than $80 million just a few weeks later.
There is something so perfect about Monet's work. He was a master of color and brush stroke. The blues of his water paintings and the reflection of light make you want to jump in and take a swim. Through Monet's eye, everything just looks so damn peaceful. I want to live in a Monet painting as I'm sure there is no bipartisan politics or Honey Boo Boo.
In honor of the day of his birth, here are Monet's top five paintings. (yeah, sometimes we get highbrow on your ass, but then we go lowbrow by simultaneously writing in list form)
5. Study of a Figure Outdoors: Woman with a Parasol
Everything about this painting is sublime. You can feel the breeze in the air as it whips her scarf around. Why she has an umbrella I do not know, but it makes me want to carry one at all times in an attempt to emulate this painting's beauty.
4. Bridge Over a Pond of Water Lilies
This painting is so stunning, it is almost overwhelming. Monet's typical blue sky is absent, and rather he has hidden us away in the middle of a green world of flowers and trees. And then there is a random bridge that appears to go nowhere, but where would you even want to go if you were able to be on that bridge?
3. Rock Arch West of Etretat
Do you see, at the far bottom left portion of the arch, two figures? Are they worried that the massive waves will take them away, or are they just casually admiring the view? Compared to the figures, the rock arch is massive, but it does not detract from the intricacies of the rest of the scene.
2. Palace From Mula, Venice
This painting demands that you move away from it and take it all in. If you can, get up and take a few steps away from your computer right now and act like you are at a highfalutin art gallery. Tilt your head a few times to the right and then to the left. Get a small plastic cup from your break room and fill it with red or white liquid - not blood or urine, though. Now sip it and nod pensively. You just took in some art the way real art lovers do, and now your co-workers think you are weirder than they did before.
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1. Water Lilies
Water Lilies is one Monet's most famous works and rightfully so. It is the definition of a "masterpiece."