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Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

“The Gare St-Lazare” by Claude Monet (The National Gallery, London)

Claude Monet, The Gare St-Lazare, 1877

“The Gare St-Lazare” by Claude Monet

“The Gare St-Lazare” by Claude Monet is one of four surviving Monet paintings representing the interior of this train station. Monet depicted the Gare St-Lazare as an interior landscape, with smoke from the engines creating the same effect as clouds in the sky. He used swift brushstrokes to create the gleaming engines to the right and the passengers as if dark shadows on the platform.

Monet had rented a small flat and a studio near the Gare St-Lazare, in 1877 where he created a series of paintings at St-Lazare Train Station where he explored smoke and steam and the way that they affected colour and visibility. Monet investigated the effects of smoke and steam that were sometimes opaque and sometimes translucent. Monet created the habit of repeatedly painted the same subject in different lighting conditions, at different times in the day, and through the various changes of weather and season. Monet began this process in the 1880s and continued until the end of his life in 1926.

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 moved to Giverny, a small village on the Seine River about forty miles west of Paris. He bought a home in Giverny where 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, first 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.

Reflections

  • Where trains and railways a subject worthy of Monet’s attention?
  • Are there any other impressionist artists who painted trains and railways?

Exploring Monet

The Gare St-Lazare

  • Title:              The Gare St-Lazare
  • Artist:            Claude Monet
  • Year:              1877
  • Medium:       Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: Height: 54.3 cm (21.3 in); Width: 73.6 cm (28.9 in)
  • Museum:      The National Gallery, London

Claude Monet

~~~

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

– Claude Monet

~~~


Photo Credit: 1) Claude Monet [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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