Friday, October 5, 2007

Monet, Prints, and Composition

Here's the commission I'm working on. This is just a preliminary, maybe an hour's work. It's not on the final surface yet, I'm just trying to get a feel of what will give me trouble...

I'm sorry that my blog has been so thin on the ground this week. It's just been a busy week around here.

I have been reading some more of House on Monet. I've been reading the chapter on "Pictorial Composition and Choice of Viewpoint." I'd like to tell you something fascinating, but honestly, I don't think I really understood what he was saying. He did talk about Japanese prints and the similarity between many of Monet's works and contemporary Japanese prints. House thinks that Monet was more inspired by nature than the prints. He thinks that Monet looked at a scene and it just made sense to him to do it as it had been done in prints, not that Monet was deliberately trying to do something as it would have been done in a Japanese print of the time. He also thinks that the works of Monet that closely resemble prints are accidental rather than intentional. For instance there are prints that Monet owned that are very similar to paintings he did. House thinks that possibly Monet bought the prints later because they resembled something he had done, rather Monet taking a print, finding something nearby that resembled it and painting it in the same composition.

Hard to say what the truth really is...I don't agree that it would detract from Monet if he had deliberately taken ideas from Japanese prints. He still did his works in his own style. Today to mimic a composition from someone else would be considered a mark of respect. And personally, I don't think respecting the work of others, or learning from them, makes you less of a master. Monet was an excellent artist, even if every idea he used wasn't completely his own.

5 comments:

Katherine said...

Well since we know Van Gogh definitely decided to mimic Japanese prints - and did - as did Whistler and I guess quite a few others when they were popular, I'm not sure I'd be very surprised if Monet tried to do his version too. After all it's what we do every time we develop a pic based on one of the works of the Masters.

Also is he referring to the exhibition at the NGA in Australia about Monet and Japanese art?

I think Monet had Japanese prints in his house (his dining room is full of them) because (a) they were very popular at the time and (2) he appreciated their design concepts.

Rose Welty said...

Exactly! There is nothing new under the sun...

He didn't mention the exhibition, the book is fairly old, for a book, 1986. When was the exhibition?

House wasn't denying that Monet had them, but he just seemed bothered about admitting that Monet had influences...which, to me, is just silly. Monet was great, even if every thought he had wasn't original. He and Renoir did several paintings together...of the same scene...that's not seen as a bad thing.

Valerie Jones said...

Rose, your commission is going to be beautiful!

Rose Welty said...

Thanks Valerie, we'll see!

Kasie @ ~The Art of Life~ said...

Your comission is coming along great! I really like how you've captured her eyes.
:)