Haystacks: Snow Effect – Claude Monet. This is the very first Monet I saw up close. It blew me away then and it blows me away still. The subject matter was one that he returned to again and again. Just like his Waterlilies. He captured the haystacks at many different times of the year. Many different lighting conditions. The pastel nature of this work really appeals to me. Such a delicate palette and subtle tones.
Monet the Trailblazer
Monet pioneered the impressionism movement with his painting Impression, Sunrise painted in 1872.
So he remains one of the most gifted painters that has ever lived. As a result his paintings now fetch telephone numbers. He sometimes gets flak in various quarters as being “too populist”. They’re just jealous. So he is superb in my book. Anyway, back to the haystack. It is such a light and airy painting, it actually soothes me whenever I visit the National Galleries of Scotland. I always make a beeline for this particular work. At a framed measurement of 85cm x 111cm, it isn’t particularly large. But in this case, size isn’t everything. If you are not able to see the work, there are many other examples worldwide.
Soft and Gentle
Therefore, this is a soft, gentle painting that should evoke a peaceful mood in the viewer. Monet is able to convince us that he also feels at peace. There is a care about the work, like Cézanne. A sense of calm and serenity. The brushwork is deliberate, yet understated and it conveys an air of authority. The gentle muting of the shadows and the painting is imbued with a blue and purple haze (sorry Jimi). We can feel the pellucid winter sun, the capture of light is very strong. It almost dances across the work.
Don’t believe the hype
In closing then, don’t believe all that is bad that is written about this artist. Above all please judge for yourself by viewing one of his works up close. You will then see what I am on about. If you still fail to be moved by him, no matter. There are thousands of other paintings just waiting to be discovered.