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A Cart on the Snowy Road at Honfleur

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A Cart on the Snowy Road at Honfleur

“A Cart on the Snowy Road at Honfleur” by Claude Monet depicts a cart on the snowy road at Honfleur. It is an example of how Monet was influenced Japanese prints and how he integrated what he had learnt from the study of Japanese art into this scene.

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“Kameyama: Clear Weather after Snow” by Utagawa Hiroshige

Claude Monet study of Japanese artists such as Utagawa Hiroshige and Utagawa Hiroshige helped him realise that painting could most effectively evoke atmosphere if it relied on the viewer’s ability to interpret abbreviated signs from their relationships to the whole picture.

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Utagawa Hiroshige Print from the MET

Monet’s painting shows numerous instances of how Monet used abstraction, similar to that found in Japanese art as an alternative naturalistic detail.

Painting landscapes under snow gave Monet the opportunity to study light effects and to use different nuances of colour. He experimented with using a limited number of shades, preferring browns and blues used in many different shades so that the ground is not uniformly white but with a luminosity that seems to change when seen from different angles.

Oscar-Claude Monet was a founder of French Impressionist painting, and the term “Impressionism” is derived from the title of his painting Impression, “soleil levant” or “Impression, Sunrise”, which was exhibited in 1874. Monet adopted a method of painting in which he painted the same scene many times to capture the changing of light and the passing of the seasons. Monet is known for having produced a series of paintings all versions of the same subject and perspective. Examples include his series of the “Valley of the Creuse” series and his famous series of “Haystacks” and “Water Lilies” paintings.

From 1883 Monet lived in Giverny, where at his home, he developed a garden landscape which included the lily ponds that would become the subjects of his best-known works. In 1899 he began painting the water lilies, firstly with a Japanese bridge as a central feature, and later in the series of large-scale paintings, with the water lilies as the main feature. This series occupied him for the last 20 years of his life.

A Cart on the Snowy Road at Honfleur

  • Title:               A Cart on the Snowy Road at Honfleur
  • Artist:             Claude Monet
  • Year:               1865
  • Medium:        Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions:  65 x 93 cm
  • Museum:       Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Oscar-Claude Monet

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“Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love.” Claude Monet

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Photo Credit: 1) GM 2) Hiroshige II [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons 3) Hiroshige [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons