Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Paintings I Like, pt. 19

Claude Monet, Rouen Cathedral, The Facade in Sunlight, 1894. Oil on canvas, 42" x 29."

One of the many things I marvel at about Monet's mature work is the lightness and delicacy he was able to maintain in spite of the fact that his canvases were absolutely encrusted with paint. Caked impasto of that thickness has a real tendency to look like frosting (or worse), which can make a picture feel as heavy as it looks. Monet's high-key palette and trademark depiction of the flecked effects of sunlight make this painting as light as a feather. Instead of calling attention to its topography, the picture's surface seems to dissolve.