Painter Claude Monet and 1900 London smog

Claude Monet, Houses of Parliament in London

From Proceedings of the Royal Society:

Paintings from Monet‘s Houses of Parliament London series have been analysed for the quantitative information they contain, by comparing the depicted position of the Sun with Solar geometry calculations.

The positions of roofline features of the Houses of Parliament were measured to provide an internal scale for the determination of azimuthal and elevation angles of the Solar depictions.

Despite some distortion of the painted motif, the internal scales were found to be approximately linear.

The Solar positions were used to derive the dates and times of the depicted scenes.

The results provide new information for assessing these paintings and are consistent with the known period Monet was in London, suggesting that they contain elements of accurate observation and may potentially be considered as a proxy indicator for the Victorian smogs and atmospheric states they depict.

The four dates Monet reports observing the Sun over Parliament in 14 and 16 February and 9 and 24 March 1900, are all represented in the series.

The analysis also enables Monet‘s vantage point from St Thomas’ Hospital to be determined for the first time.

Monet in Algeria: here.

This is a video on a Monet exhibition in Paris.

The man who made Monet: how impressionism was saved from obscurity. How did the impressionist painters, once attacked by critics, become a global force? A major exhibition reveals their change in fortune was all down to one man – and he wasn’t even an artist: here.

Art and weather: here.

15 thoughts on “Painter Claude Monet and 1900 London smog

  1. 17/05/2007 Monet schilderde niet abstract, maar zag gewoon slecht

    De vader van het impressionisme, Claude Monet, leunde op het einde van zijn leven niet aan bij de abstracte kunst, maar had gewoon last van cataract.

    Dat blijkt uit onderzoek van een Amerikaanse oogarts. Volgens Michael Marmor, professor oogheelkunde aan de universiteit van Standford, wilden noch Claude Monet (1840-1926, foto toont zijn werk “Kliffen van Dieppe”), noch Edgar Degas (1834-1917) van stijl veranderen op het einde van hun leven en abstract gaan schilderen. Ze leden gewoon aan oogziekten.

    Monet kampte met cataract en Degas had last van een degeneratieziekte aan de ogen, aldus de professor, die via een computersysteem met filter en op basis van documenten uit die tijd probeerde te reconstrueren wat de twee schilders zagen.

    Volgens Marmor, wiens bevindingen gepubliceerd werden in The Archives of Ophtalmology, merkten de tijdgenoten van de schilders dat ze op het einde van hun leven op een ruwe manier schilderden, in tegenstelling tot in hun vroegere werk.

    Degas, wiens zicht er op achteruit ging tussen 1860 en 1910, schilderde op een alsmaar primitievere manier en de contrasten werden steeds minder duidelijk. Bij Monet, die op het einde van zijn leven geopereerd werd, maakte cataract zijn zicht troebel en tastte zijn vermogen aan om kleuren te onderscheiden, aldus de studie. De kleuren in zijn latere werk zijn dan ook bijna allemaal geelachtig en somber.


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