How Claude Monet Documented Light Using the Rouen Cathedral

This post follows on from How Claude Monet Used Haystacks To Demonstrate Light And Color.

Here is another example of how Claude Monet painted the same subject in varying environments to demonstrate how changes in light can affect color. He used the Rouen Cathedral as the subject in 28 paintings which I could find, all of which were painted between 1892 and 1894. The Rouen Cathedral is a fantastic subject for this demonstration due to the many varied edges, shadows and shapes.

Monet skillfully selected colors which clearly matched the time of day.

The bright and sunny days were painted in a high value range with very tinted colors.

The foggy days were painted with a cool palette of faded colors and reduced clarity.

The sunsets were painted with a warm color palette, bright colors and increased contrast in the elements.

The evenings were painted with an earthy color palette and dark values.

Monet also contrasted warm (cool) light against cool (warm) shadows in many of the paintings.

It is amazing to think about how many paintings of the same subject Monet completed in just a few years. This is more than many of us artists paint in total during a year.

The way Monet skillfully manipulates color to render different types of light makes each painting unique. When scrolling through the images you would hardly notice that it is all the same subject.

In the next part of this series, I will collate Claude Monet’s paintings of water lilies, which are fascinating examples of how colors can work together in beautiful harmony.

You can click on the images below to see the full-sized versions.

Want to Learn More?

You might be interested in my Painting Academy course. I’ll walk you through the time-tested fundamentals of painting. It’s perfect for absolute beginner to intermediate painters.

Thanks for Reading!

I appreciate you taking the time to read this post and I hope you found it helpful. Feel free to share it with friends.

Happy painting!

Dan Scott

Draw Paint Academy

About | Supply List | Featured Posts | Products


Dan Scott is the founder of Draw Paint Academy. He's a self-taught artist from Australia with a particular interest in landscape painting. Draw Paint Academy is run by Dan and his wife, Chontele, with the aim of helping you get the most out of the art life. You can read more on the About page.

Enjoyed this post? Join over 123,000 artists who subscribe to the Draw Paint Academy newsletter.


4 comments on “How Claude Monet Documented Light Using the Rouen Cathedral”

Leave a Comment