Although originally simply intended as a trip for Monet and his wife to spend time together and with friends, the 68-year-old was so inspired by his first visit to Venice that he began painting the city as soon as his materials, which he was uncertain he would need, arrived.
Also known by the titles, Dusk in Venice and San Giorgio Maggiore by Twilight, this oil on canvas is one of a series of paintings by Monet capturing the view of the island and monastery of San Giorgio Maggiore from Venice. Also visible in the scene are the dome of the Basilica of Santa Maria Salute and the entrance of the Grand Canal.
Having remarked that Venice was in fact too beautiful to translate into a painting, Monet nonetheless set about painting the scenes he so admired simply to create souvenirs of the city for himself. In fact, the paintings would be exhibited in Paris four years after the Monets made the trip to Venice, and the exhibition at Bernheim-Jeune gallery would prove to be a resounding success.
Although the subject of the painting is ostensibly the island of San Giorgio Maggiore, the painting is all about capturing the beauty of the light at sunset. Typical of impressionist painting in general, Sunset in Venice conveys the changing qualities of light and sense of movement visible in the water. Monet used thin, visible brush strokes and mixed pure colours in juxtaposition to create a sense of movement. Light brush strokes of red, orange, purple and yellow give vibrancy to the sky and its reflection in the gently moving water. In contrast to the warm colours of the sunset, the silhouettes of the buildings are painted in dark blues, purples, and violets. Notably, even the shadows and silhouettes are composed of colours as Monet did not use black paint after 1886. Likewise, he shunned brown and earth tones.
Monet painted Sunset in Venice outdoors which was typical of the impressionist painters but was a break from the tradition of painting in a studio. At times he painted from the edge of the canal and at others, from the window of the hotel. However, like many of his works from Venice, he did not complete the painting while in the city. It was not until four years later, shortly after the death of his wife in 1911, that Monet would complete Sunset in Venice at his home in Giverny.
In addition to the view of San Giorgio Maggiore, Monet captured other Venice landmarks during his only trip to the city, including The Doge's Palace, The Grand Canal, and the Palazzo da Mula Morosini. In all his Venetian paintings the canals play a central role in their reflection and movement of the changing light.
Sunset in Venice was purchased at the Paris exhibition of his Venetian Scenes at the Bernheim-Jeune gallery in 1912 by the Welsh philanthropist and art collector, Gwendoline Davies. The painting was subsequently bequeathed to the National Museum Cardiff, which is the national art gallery of Wales. Despite appearing in the 1999 art heist film, The Thomas Crown Affair, in which the painting, referred to as San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk, is stolen from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the painting has, in fact, remained in the National Museum of Cardiff. The Metropolitan Museum of Art does, however, possess another of Monet's Venice paintings, The Doge's Palace Seen from San Giorgio Maggiore.
Shortly after completing his Venice series of paintings and not long after suffering the loss of his wife, Monet's eldest son died and around this time the artist began to develop cataracts which impaired his vision. Although he would undergo surgery in 1923 to remove the cataracts, it may be that his perception of colour was permanently altered.
The great founder of Impressionism, died in 1926 at the age of 86. Today, his home and gardens at Giverny are open to the public, having been bequeathed by his younger son Michel to the French Academy of Fine Arts.
Monet Sunset paintings are amongst the most popular from this influential French artist who starred in the 19th and 20th century impressionist movement which itself remains highly respected in the modern day. This section brings you all the very best Claude Monet paintings that included either a sunset or sunrise plus a few others with similarly interesting effects across the landscape's sky. Impression, Sunrise is clearly the most influential of all within this website as was the painting from which the term impressionism was originally coined.
Monet sunrise above is his best known work featuring an actual sunrise and was produced in the highly artistic and beautiful city of Venice in Italy. It was one of a number of paintings that the artist produced here having been inspired by this truly unique setting as had so many others who came before him, such as Romanticist JMW Turner who created a similar look with watercolours which is believed to have inspired some of the later impressionists.
Claude Monet has become one of the most respected landscape artists of all time and many like to study his career in detail, often concentrating on a specific elements such as the sunsets and sunrises here, or alternatively his experiments with light and seasons.
Impression Sunrise is regarded as one of the most important paintings from Monet's career and was presented amongst the original exhibition of the impressionists as they sought to gain acceptance for their approach to painting which was exceptionally original at that time and remains highly regarded many years later. Monet is considered the greatest exponent of this style of art and the paintings shown within this site all concentrate on his innovative ways of creating skies with character and colour that would always complement and life the rest of the painting.
Water lilies at Sunset is an exciting art work from Monet's huge series of paintings that he completed in his garden in Giverny over a long period as he experienced obsessively with different elements such as his position in the garden as well as the time and season. Water lilies are amongst the best remembered part of the garden and this specific painting covers them during Sunset for the purposes of bringing in some extraordinary shades of green and purple into the work. There are Monet water lilies prints to buy here.
Impression Sunrise above is an alternative version to the better known original that is further up the page. This one features a very different dimension that would suit other shapes of wall for those looking to buy their own Monet reproductions. The art work above is actually a preparatory sketch for the later work and offers a different colour scheme of dark pencil marks with a very red sun that could be more to the taste of some than the actual final work. Impressionist Sunrise is regularly purchased in reproduction form as an art print, poster or stretched canvas.
Sunset on the Seine is a stylish and charming painting by Claude Monet which is lesser known than the likes of Sunrise in Venice but still certainly worthy of study. The colours and contrasts within this painting are dinstinctly subtler than many other paintings included in this website, with a nice blend from sea to sky, with the red sun left to take the attention of the viewer. The land scene is depicted in neutral green and blue tones meaning that the whole work holds together perfectly.
Houses of Parliament was covered by Monet in a series of paintings and although none specifically cover a sunset or sunrise scene, there can be no doubt that the particular work above features an exceptionally styled sky scene that gives a similar beauty that can be found in those. In this example Monet used a selection of purples, reds and yellows to create an inspiring skyline that sits menacingly behind the iconic Houses of Parliament building within London. The series in London helped to spread the artist's name around the UK faster than even the impressionist movement's other members could do and he spent an extended period here to capture each of his works.
Sunset in Venice is the name of the most reproduced of all Monet works currently which is surprising when considered that it was not academically respected as others such as Japanese Bridge and his series of Water lilies from his garden in Giverny. The obvious reason for it's popularity within the mainstream art public is it's bright selection of colours which swathe across the sky giving a beautiful finish which is further reflected upon the sea below. The major element to impressionism was colour and few better examples exist of this than in Sunset in Venice.