Claude (b. Nov. 14, 1840, Paris, Fr.--d. Dec. 5, 1926, Giverny) French
painter, initiator, leader, and unswerving advocate of the Impressionist
style. [Encyclopedia Britannica, 1994]
month's feature artist is Claude Monet. He is dead now, but when he
was alive he painted all kinds of things. He is well known for his series
paintings of poplar trees and grain stacks in the French countryside.
He would paint these things at different times of day and in different
weather conditions to catch the subtle lighting, color, and shadow variations.
These paintings are all well-known, but perhaps his most famous painting
is not a landscape. It was a dramatic change of style for Monet, an
artist who liked to use pastel colors and paint nature. His most famous
painting is a portrait of a mysterious woman with no eyebrows.
This painting is very dark and uses a color scheme that can not be found
in any of Monet's other paintings. Much controversy has occurred as
a result of this painting. Various officials hypothesize that the woman
in the painting was either Monet's lover, sister, or a rich woman who
wanted to have her portrait painted, so she commissioned Monet to paint
from that controversy, there are two other questions about the painting
that remain unanswered.
Why is the woman in the painting smiling so sadly? Some officials
claim that she is mourning a recently deceased husband, others claim
that it is because she was secretly in love with Monet and he did
not return her love, and yet others claim that she did not smile that
way on purpose she simply got tired of sitting there waiting
for Monet to finish her painting and her smile drooped. [Editor's
Note: I think that most people have had the same kind of experience.
when someone takes forever getting his or her camera
ready to take a photo, they mess with the flash, and fiddle with the
focus, and "oops!" the lens cap was on
starts to look fake and sad.] A revolutionary new theory suggests
that the woman peeked while Monet was painting and saw that he had
painted her without eyebrows, which made her sad and upset because
in real life she had very nice eyebrows and was very proud of them.
Why doesn't the woman have any eyebrows? Did Monet paint her that
way on purpose, or did he forget? Did the woman lose them to unnatural
causes. or was she (contrary to the theory proposed at the end
of Question 1.) born without them? Perhaps he painted them and
then changed his mind and painted over them, as he did with the pearl
necklace that was recently discovered by X-raying the painting. We
will probably never know
more discoveries and insights occur, these questions will remain unanswered,
haunting art critics and eyebrow-lovers for eternity. We salute Monet
and his most intriguing painting: The Monet Lisa.
[above] Other paintings by Monet