Claude Monet, Impressions, Sunrise (c. 1872)
I have always believed that when you start something, you should start it from the very start. You don't start a marathon seventeen miles in; you don't watch a movie after skipping through the first half hour, you miss some character development and such. So when we talk about Impressionism, lets start at the beginning. Claude Monet made a real impression (#punsareawful) with this painting. The title of this work would be worked into the title of the entire artist movement. The significance of this painting cannot be under stated. It was one of those landmarks that allowed for the progression of the arts. Monet made this painting for an art critic, and the critic insulted the group of artists that made paintings in this style ( people like Renoir or Degas) by calling them the impressionist, and saying that the painting was little more than graffiti. Taking this as a challenge, these men called themselves the impressionist. They led a revolution in the art scene. Cultural impact aside, Monet's work is quite beautiful. The scene appears to be a boat on a lake with some fog, trees and the sun rising in the background. It is ironic that such a serene scene would cause a revolution. The use of complementary colors makes the work particularly stunning. It currently resides in the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris, France ( eat your heart out Paris, Texas). Monet's work has belonged to this collection for much of it's existence, excluding a small sabbatical the painting spent after being stollen in 1985, along with eight other Impressionist paintings. Impression, Sunrise was thankfully recovered five years later, and was returned to the museum.
Biography on Monet
Other works by Monet
A video of Monet painting (c. 1915)
A New York Times article about the theft
More information on Impressionism