Art History Review on Monet?s The Grand Canal, Venice 1908

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Monet’s use of color along with use of intricate brush strokes and composition

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is outstanding. The vast variations of brush strokes and color placement

techniques are what make his work so unique and individual. Grand Canal,

Venice, 1908 is a prime example of Monet’s talents in these areas. The

structure of the painting is very loose. There are few hard lines in the

composition that represents solid structure. The curves in conjunction with the

shades of color as well as light usage give the piece a mirage-like effect. It is

easy to imagine Monet’s vantage point while he was painting the picture by the

way the composition is set up. One can tell he was looking towards the

buildings on the other side of water because it’s obvious that the building are

being reflected as well as the wooden poles sticking out of the water. It is quite

evident that Monet is observing a sunset and that he is painting quickly to

capture the full effect of light during this short period of the day with the study

of light being the main focus in this work. Shadow also plays a large part in the

make up the painting. Monet uses an even tonality of blues, lavenders, oranges

and pinks to create the buildings across the water, thus showing the sunlight

reflecting off the sides of them. It’s quite amazing how he uses many different

colors to create one large color. For instance, in the sky he uses a mixture of

greens, pinks, oranges and blues to create the feeling of dusk as the sun slowly

sets to the right of the picture. In the far edge of the water he uses greens and

blues with a hint of lavender here and there to show the darkness of the water

behind the buildings where the sunlight isn’t reaching. When the water comes

closer to the bottom of the painting there is a heavier use of oranges, yellows

and pinks creating a golden mirror-like effect reflecting the light coming off of

the buildings. At this point it is hard to determine if the sunlight is actually

striking the surface of the water or if it is just the reflection of the sun off of

the buildings alone. Once one looks at the poles sticking out of the water it’s

easier to determine if the sun is hitting the water or not. It must be hitting a

good portion of the water because only the closest pole is dark, with no sun

hitting it, but the poles which are farther away have light, then again it may just


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