Claude Monet: Grainstack (Sunset) Essays

Claude Monet: Grainstack (Sunset)Claude Monet’s Grainstack (Sunset) is the painting I chose from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Monet was an impressionist painter in France, and did most of his work at his home at Giverny. Impressionism got its name from a painting that Monet painted, Impression Sunrise. Impressionist paintings are put into a category based on characteristics such as light that draws attention to objects, rough textures, and visual pleasure that the viewer receives upon looking at the paintings. Impressionist paintings are art for arts sake and focus on leisure and nature. These paintings are generally the most well known and popular paintings because of their attractive appearance.

The Grainstack (Sunset) was painted between 1890 and 1891, and is a part of Monet?s first true series paintings. During the time of this series was painted, there was a lot of unrest going on in Europe. Many of the major cities were experiencing industrial growth, and it was causing the people to suffer from a magnitude of social problems.There were high rates of suicide, and anarchist groups. Over the years to follow, 1889 to 1894, there were at least 600 strikes involving 120,000 workers. There were bombings, raids, and wide spread fear across the country. It was during this time period that Monet was going to establish himself as one of the major painters of the country.

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As the viewer looks at this painting, they are taken into a rural scene. You notice first the grainstack as the major object in the painting. As you move around the painting, there are many striking areas of light. The sunset causes a brilliant display of colors around the scene. The sky is fading in the background as the sun sunsets.There is a small amount of blue still hanging in the sky, and under that a large portion of a yellow hue from the sun setting. As the suns sets further it cause a pink color above the land. The sunset has cause the grainstacks color to darken. You can see that the light left in the scene is on the other side of the stack. There is a shadow cast of the back side, making the stacks top dark brown, and the bottom a dark red.

The rural scene in the Grainstack (Sunset), as well as the other grainstacks in his series paintings, all basically share many of the same characteristics. The haystacks are never overwhelmed by light. As in the Grainstac…

…ainting and finding out what is behind it makes the work a lot more interesting. Monet?s grainstacks have not only taught me about him as a painter and why he painted as he did, but also about France and what was going on during this period. His works are a beautiful representation of what life was like, and what Monet was experiencing right in his own backyard.


Hayes Tucker, Paul. Monet in the 90?s: Series Paintings. Boston Museum of Fine Arts; New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989.

Hayes Tucker, Paul. Monet in the Twentieth Century. Boston Museum of Fine Arts; New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998.

Frascina, Francis. Modernity and Modernism: French Painting in the Nineteenth Century. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993.

Gerdts, William H. Monet?s Giverny: An Impressionists Colony. New York: Abbeville Press, 1993.

Copplestone, Trewin. The History and Techniques of the Great Masters: Monet. New Jersey: Chartwell Books, 1987.

Tomkins, Calvin. ?Monet?s Illusion.? Vanity Fair. July 1995, Vol. 58 Issue 7: pg. 96-102.

Hurwitz, Laurie S. ?The Well Planned Spontaneity of Claude Monet.? American Artist. March 1996, Vol. 60 Issue 644: pg. 56-64.


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