Grainstacks at Giverny; the Evening Sun

Claude Monet1888/1889

The Museum of Modern Art, Saitama

The Museum of Modern Art, Saitama
Saitama-shi, Japan

A leading artist of the Impressionist school, during the 1870s, Monet painted works in which the open-air light was captured in brisk touches. In 1883, he moved to Giverny, where he was to stay for the rest of his life, and pursued how to express reflections of light on the water surface and the subtle nuance of the light infiltrating through the atmosphere. Via a number of serial works beginning with Grainstacks, he reached the monumental series of Water Lilies. Monet had a significant influence on the subsequent trend in twentieth century art.

Two other works depicting the morning effect from the same viewpoint are known to exist. Two years later, Monet painted twenty-five views of Grainstacks, which led to the spectacular series of Water Lilies. This painting is a monumental work that pioneered such masterpieces. Compared to his artistic style up to the 1870s, the brushwork has become softer and more delicate. The paint is applied in multiple layers and extends to all corners of the painting. With the substantial grainstacks at the center, the artist brilliantly captures the incessantly changing world of flowing air and infiltrating light. Enwrapped in dense air and light, everything seems to be leisurely in motion. The grainstacks, which Monet chose as his motif, were heaps of unthreshed wheat, which were also used to store food. They were a symbol of the fertile land in the agricultural country, France.

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