How Claude Monet Documented Light Using The Rouen Cathedral

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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.

Thanks for Reading!

Feel free to share with friends. If you want more painting tips, check out my fundamentals course.

Happy painting!

Dan Scott

Draw Paint Academy

Read more of my articles. 

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