Zack Milostan Zimmer
Written Formal Analysis 1/20/18
of Impression, Sunrise
Sunrise, the painting that is
credited to giving the Impressionist movement its name, is an oil on canvas piece
that was completed in 1872 by Claude Monet.
He made this painting in a single setting in Le Havre, and it now
resides at the Paris Musée Marmottan Museum. At the
painting’s first viewing at the Paris Salon in 1874, the painting received a
lot of critical backlash as many felt like it was a mere sketch of an
incomplete painting. Also, many viewers were unable to determine what the
painting was representing, which would be a foggy morning in the port town of
The subject of Impression, Sunrise is Le Havre on a foggy
morning, with the sun being the focus. Monet
incorporated a palette of primarily cool, dull colors into the painting with
blues and grays, but also included warm colors used in the sky and in the
red-orange sun. Monet uses intensity
contrast with these colors by making broken lines of orange against the blue
water, which causes a shimmering effect that leads the eye up the orange trail to
As for the brushstrokes, according to Artble, “Impressionism
favored rapid brush strokes in order to accurately depict the immediacy of the
scene in front of them” (Artble). In Impression, Sunrise, Monet uses this
rapid brushstroke technique “to portray the effect of the sun’s light against
the water and its fluidity in comparison the rest of the scene” (Artble).
Impression, Sunrise is a representational work, and
it represents two things, with the first being a foggy Le Havre in the morning,
which that is what the painting is based on.
The other is a post-war France, represented by the darker colors and the
black row boats, looking towards a bright future, depicted by the focus of the
painting: the sun.
Through the use of color temperature, intensity,
and harmony, Claude Monet was able to convey meaning with a specific
interpretation of the piece: that the post-war France has a bright future. Now,
the artwork is much more important now compared to when it was made,
considering that the critics of the time considered it a mere sketch of painting,
which it is. Today, it is important due to
the fact that it essentially started the Impressionist movement, gave the
movement its name, and through that, changed art forever by creating a model that
promoted artistic freedom, which many artists of the past longed for. And as time passed, the meaning of the artwork
never changed, but the function of the work has changed from initially being
highly criticized by many to being famous for causing a movement that would
change the meaning and perception of art forever.
“Analysis of Claude Monet’s Impression,
“Ending Conclusion.” Views of Impressionism of
“Impression Sunrise.” Artble, 19
July 2017, www.artble.com/artists/claude_monet/paintings/impression_sunrise.