Lending its name to the Impressionist movement of the 19th century, Claude Monet Impression Sunrise is perhaps one of the most famous art pieces on display today. Monet described the title for the painting by stating, “Landscape is nothing but an impression, and an instantaneous one, hence this label that was given us, by the way because of me. I had sent a thing done in Le Havre, from my window, sun in the mist and a few masts of boats sticking up in the foreground.” With this statement, Monet emphasizes the idea of perspective and how an instant perspective can show a much deeper interpretation than one spent studying the details.
He continues the quote by explaining, “They asked me for a title for the catalogue, it couldn’t really be taken for a view of Le Havre, and I said: ‘Put Impression.” Monet further described the painting as a kind of freedom of workmanship– he could finish the painting based on one glance, or one impression. With this approach, Claude Monet Impression Sunrise effectively strips away the meticulous details of the average landscape and leaves behind just a first impression, the faint image resembling a memory of the Le Havre harbor. From Monet’s words, we can interpret that anyone can paint a picture by studying and recreating the details for hours, but it’s the first impression of an image that really has the most artistic meaning.
Monet Impression Sunrise displays a faint, cloudy image of Le Havre harbor, in which the viewer can see a man in a small boat heading out to larger ships in the distance, shadowed by a thick, faint blue fog. In this foggy image with mostly dark or faint hues, what stands out the most is the vibrant orange sun just hovering over the water and reflecting a slight orange glow on the gloomy sky and the cloudy water. With this striking image against a diaphanous scene, Claude Monet Impression Sunrise effectively captures a dream-like, first glance image of its subject.
Experts point out that Impression Sunrise has another unique quality that can often go unnoticed by the untrained eye. This quality is the apparent brightness of the orange sun, which is actually no brighter than the rest of its surroundings when measured with a photometer. Harvard professor of neurobiology, Dr. Margaret Livingstone, attests that a black and white image of Claude Monet Impression Sunrise causes the sun to disappear almost entirely. For this reason, it can equally be argued that Monet Impression Sunrise is just as realistic as it is dream-like because the evolved brain’s visual cortex is designed to only interpret luminance as opposed to color.
Considering this information, Claude Monet Impression Sunrise can be seen as a valuable study of the human mind. It supports hundreds of years of research in the field of psychology because it reflects only those details that impressed Monet the most at a first glance. In addition to producing an image that reflected Monet’s first impression, the painting also gives the viewer plenty of extra room to project his or her own interpretation as well. When the details are left out, the viewer is able to feel as free as Monet did: to see whatever he or she wants to see. For these reasons, Monet Impression masterpiece can teach us both about the psychology of the human mind as well as the initial beauty of a landscape.