Saturday, June 23, 2018

Book Review: Monet: Itinerant of Light by Salva Rubio and Efa

Monet: Itinerant of Light written by Salva Rubio and art by Efa

Claude Monet was one of the founders of the Impressionist movement in the late 1800s. His style focuses on how light reflects off objects, how they appear to the eye. His passion became to paint outdoors whenever he could, to show the effect of the brightest light. Like many revolutionary painters, he struggled for a long time before achieving success. He wanted to work apart from the established classical system and create a new way of painting. He had many sympathetic colleagues (Degas, Renoir, Cezanne, to name a few) who joined him in setting up a rival to the Salon, the main art exhibition in France. Their work was mocked at first but eventually gained acceptance. Monet himself went through a similar arc from rejected outsider to an accepted master.

The book lovingly recreates some paintings of Monet as they tell his life story (occasionally they use other painters as well). The back of the book explains all their cribbing. The notes also say they were a bit loose with the historical details in order to make a compelling story. Even so, they are honest enough to show the unpleasant parts of the man--he was egotistical and in some periods cared much more for his art than his friends and family. The book is an enjoyable and quick read, filling in some detail for the life of the painter. I'd still like to read a more standard biography of the man.

Recommended for art fans or those curious about the lives of artists.

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