Monday Motivator: In an Inch of a Monet Painting

“An ordinary square inch in a Monet painting is a chaos, a scruffy mess of shapeless glints and tangles. His marks are so irregular, and so varied, and there are so many of them, that it is commonly impossible to tell how the surface was laid down. There is a zoo of marks in this detail that defy any simple description.

“… lay down strokes that are different from one another, and to keep overlapping and juxtaposing them until the entire surface begins to resonate with a bewildering complexity.iv The marks must not be simple dabs, or shaped dashes, or any other namable form, but they must mutate continuously, changing texture, outline, smoothness, color, viscosity, brilliance, and intensity in each moment.

James Elkins, “What Painting Is

The Manneporte (Etretat) by Claude Monet, 1883. Size: 65 x 81 cm. In the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

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