The Light of Claude Monet at the MFA
It turns out that Claude Monet (1840-1926) has been a favorite of Boston art collectors and therefore of the Museum of Fine Arts since Monet’s landscapes first appeared in the late 19th century. I think the attraction had to do with the way Monet captured light.
Light blessing ordinary and unspectacular natural scenes, reflecting on water of a bay, playing in trees and fields, blanketing a city street as commuters go home in the snow, highlighting hay mounds in costumes that make them shine with importance. Boston art collectors, their feet in slush half the year, were drawn to the European shimmers of Monet’s paintings.
Hills and rivers of unremarkable beauty come to life in the textures of Monet’s work. From a distance, snow scenes and harbor views dance with the spirit of creation. There are domestic gardens, foot bridges, flower gardens and water lilies, but the wider views, the monuments of nature and the monument of faith, like Rouen Cathedral, stand out as testimonies to Monet’s genius and hard-won achievements.
Up close, paint is layered thick on Rouen Cathedral. One can hardly make out the outlines. From a few steps away the grand tower appears in celestial blue.