Claude Monet and his fellow Impressionists preferred to paint outdoors to better capture the natural light. Painting outside is known as plein-air painting.
Haystacks Summer Evening by Claude Monet. Photo by Kent Baldner.
A Light Impression
Claude Monet is born in Paris, France
Many artists wear the Impressionist label today, but it was a painting by Claude Monet that gave this art movement its name. That moment happened when an art critic looked at Monet’s Impression, Sunrise and called it “impressionist.” Ironically, while the critic meant his remark as dismissive of Monet’s style, the term became associated with a much-loved and respected school of century art.
Many works by Monet are characterized by the hallmarks of Impressionism: soft and changeable light effects, visible brushstrokes that reveal the artist’s emotions and personality, and the use of everyday things and people as subjects—from haystacks to playful children. Monet loved the natural world, and simple things such as flowers, the river Seine, and his personal garden in Giverny, France, inspired him.