AN EXPLORATION OF ART HISTORY
Between 1892 and 1894, Monet painted over 30 depictions of the Rouen Cathedral in northwestern France. He chose to do the pieces at different times of day in different weather patterns, intending to show the varying characters the cathedral had with light changes. As an impressionist, Monet concentrated on the emotional and sensational perceptions he felt while painting, rather than hard details. Here are two different opinions of these very interesting pieces.
KATIE: To me, this series if very dreamy. Monet’s light and pastel colors transform a harsh, gothic cathedral into a sort of serene palace. Each painting presents a mood, showing Monet’s goal of the series: the sunnier, clear days give up a glowing vibe, and the rainy, darker days are more gloomy. His delicate technique makes even the subtlest highlight and shadow matter. He makes color-mixing seem seem effortless, because when looking up close, it seems like a mesh of random paints. He uses blues and purples even when those colors aren’t physically on the building. The series just evokes a beauty that only Europe has, and I love it for the simplicity of its natural feeling. Architecture was never really Monet’s niche, but its totally a series I would buy if I had a billion dollars.
ELLIS: My opinion about The Rouen Cathedral Series is very different from Katie’s. Overall, I find that his style doesn’t do the subject justice. The Rouen Cathedral is a piece of Gothic architecture that has incredible detail and design. I find that Monet’s soft and quick style doesn’t work with the cathedral’s harsh and drastic design. When I look at this I feel like I am suffocating in a pillow of color. In my opinion, Monet’s impressionist technique works better with naturalistic and rhythmic themes. There are some works that are part of this series that I like better than others however; this is all dependent on color and composition. I tend to like the paintings that have a wider view of the cathedral. These paintings are more interesting to me because Monet adds more of the sky and some of the street. This composition allows more color variation and harsher shadows.