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Rocks at Port-Coton, the Lion Rock, Belle-Île, 1886

Claude Monet (1840 – 1926)

Oil on canvas

65 x 81 cm

PD.27-1998 (Accepted in lieu of Inheritance Tax by H. M. Government and allocated to the Fitzwilliam Museum, 1998)   

Monet visited the so-called ‘wild coast’ of Brittany for the first time in the autumn and winter of 1886. He had planned to stay only ten days, but ended up spending ten weeks, based in a tiny hamlet only five hundred metres from the rugged coastline. This is one of thirty-nine paintings made during his stay. 

French writer Emile Zola praised Monet for his extraordinary ability to paint water. He wrote that in Monet's paintings water was always, ‘alive, deep, and above all real’. If you compare this painting to other seascapes by Monet, such as The Rock Needle and Porte d'Aval, Etretat, you can see how sensitively Monet responded to the different moods of the sea to paint both stillness and movement. 

The idea of painting the same thing over and over again may well have been inspired by Japanese prints, which were widely circulated among artists in Paris. Monet is thought to be influenced by the bold colours, the inventive compositions, the relative flatness, and the fact they are drawn from everyday life. Monet's house in Giverny, has a large collection of Japanese prints.

You can find out more about Claude Monet and the other French Impressionst artists in the collection at The Fitzwilliam Museum in this online exhbition

This resource has been developed to coincide with #ChildrensArtWeek. Children’s Art Week is run by Engage, the National Association for Gallery Education and supported in 2020 by Engage Scotland, Engage Cymru and The D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust.  

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