The history of the impressionism is inseparable from the biography of Claude Monet.
His work gave the name for a new art school not by an accident.
At the first impressionists’ exhibition in the Parisian atelier of the photographer Nadar in 1874, the artist presented a painting "Impression. The sunrise". Critic Louis Leroy who saw this painting played up this name ("Impression...") in the title of his article "Exhibition of Impressionists". Despite initial critical sense, the term turned out accurate and later became widely used. Artists favourably accepted the given name and used it as an official name of the group with Claude Monet as a recognized leader.
Monet began to paint outdoor landscapes in his youth. Observing nature, the artist came to the conclusion that there were no constant local tones in the nature and that the colour of any object depended on lighting. Work in the open air becomes the artistic program of his work. "I want to capture the moment: the atmosphere and light diffused in it," admitted the artist.
The desire to convey an immediate impression of a motif demanded Monet to review radically the basic principles of painting. Interest in the light and colour problems allowed the artist to abandon completely the plot, and the poetic perception of the world helped to see the scenic beauty even in the most ordinary motif of nature. The very essence of painting, the vibration of the individual moving touches, became the most important theme in Monet's work. Objects on his canvases lose their density, breaking up into an infinite number of colour reflections, creating an entire light-air environment.
Place of a large easel painting was taken by the etude which received the status of a finished work, but still retained all the freshness of a fleeting visual impression. Striving to capture different nuances of the lighting, the complexity of colour relations Monet began to create series of paintings devoted to one motif in the end of 1880-s. In 1883 artist bought a house in Giverny where his most famous cycles – “Haystacks” and “Water Lilies” – were created.
More than 20 paintings of Monet are devoted to the image of the Rouen Cathedral. The whimsical architecture of the French gothic loses its independent significance for the artist and becomes a kind of screen on which an endless game of light and colour is played.
More than ten iconic works of Claude Monet are exhibited in the collection of The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts at Volkhonka, 14. There are "Boulevard des Capucines in Paris," which was presented at the very first exhibition in 1874 as well as an early work "The Luncheon on the Grass" and the work from the series "Haystacks”, “Water Lilies" and "Rouen Cathedral".