Category Archives: Claude Monet

Vision Problems Guide Artists

By looking at his paintings, you probably never guessed that Edgar Degard could not see well. However, the French realist painter was believed to have a congenital retinal problem. Similarly, Mary Cassatt and Claude Monet both had cataracts, which explain why the artists had trouble differentiating color later in life. And sketch artist Charles Méryon never toyed with color because he was well aware of his color-blindness.

Several artists have suffered from eye problems that pose obstacles to their chosen career paths. However, many artists leveraged their disabilities, using them as tools to guide their distinct style and career.

For instance, Peter Milton was diagnosed with color-blindness in 1962. This occurred after he spent years painting, teaching art, and studying under the master of color, Josef Albers. Upon receiving his diagnosis, Milton abandoned color; instead, he committed himself to the creation of black and white masterpieces. The absence of color did not void other creative elements of his artwork, though. Milton produced intricate works of art that are best described as “visual puzzles in which past and present seem to merge.”

Milton found a way to work around his eye problems while other artists did not. It has been reported that one in 10 men has color-blindness. A professor of ophthalmology at Stanford University, Michael Marmor, recognizes the challenge artists face when diagnosed with vision troubles. He tells NPR that “most artists who found out they were colorblind just switched to printmaking or sculpture.”

Some artists worked through their eye problems to create the art they loved and were known for. Claude Monet was quoted as saying, “At first I tried to be stubborn. How many times … have I stayed for hours under the harshest sun sitting on my campstool, in the shade of my parasol, forcing myself to resume my interrupted task and recapture the freshness that had disappeared from my palette! Wasted efforts.”

Throughout history, several artists approached vision troubles differently. Some worked through them, others looked past them, and many worked around their eye problems. Milton, who is a shining example of how to work around color-blindness, attributes his artistic style to his disability. “… It helps to have a disability,” he told NPR, “because when you can do anything, which of all the things you can do are you gonna choose? So something has to help you make the choice.”

Some of the world’s most well-known artwork has been produced by artists with vision problems. The pieces may seem to use askew color options or be void of color entirely, but to us, these color choices make the artwork appear distinct. And who knows, perhaps an artist accepted his or her disability and set out to create art in this authentic way.

Read more Segmation blog posts about art and color:

EnChroma Introduces Colorblind People to Color

The Gift of Color Vision

The Importance of Color Vision and Art

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Colorful Jewelry Inspired by Classic Art

Art and jewelry merge at this year’s Biennale des Antiquaires. At this biannual event, collectors are presented with high fashion jewelry created by top designers. The jewelry is rare because designers craft pieces to reflect famous artwork. To create these pieces, jewelers are pulling their inspiration from artists like Impressionist painter, Monet and Dutch artist, Mondrian. The result is a unique set of designs driven by the tastes and preferences of modern art’s most significant influences.

~Claire Dévé-Rakoff is creative director at Chaumet. She insists that color will take precedence over stones this year. Her palate was comprised of soft pastels pulled straight from the Impressionist era. In fact, she directly references Claude Monet when mentioning Chaumet’s theme of light and water. She is especially interested in the way light and water play together and the color combinations that are created as a result; yellow diamond and blue sapphire, for example.

~Chanel also plays with light in its Sunset collection. The work conjures the emotion and calm of pink and golden sunsets. White diamonds and pink sapphires mix with pastel opals to imitate the streaks of color seen at dusk. Their centerpiece, a necklace of white and pink gold, surrounds a sapphire with subtle hints of orange.

~A designer returning to the show this year, Wallace Chan of Hong Kong, found inspiration in the work of Piet Mondrian. Chan’s attraction to geometric shapes and clean lines was due to, what he called, “a quest for purity.” Bright green garnets and tourmalines contrast pink rubelittes and sapphires in a gorgeous ring.

~A newcomer to The Biennale, Giampierro Bodino, calls on Italian influences and colors, particularly those of Renaissance painter, Sandro Botticelli. No doubt there’s a bit of national pride behind the Milanese designer’s work, as Italy, perhaps more than any other country, has a rich heritage of art and culture. Pastels and vibrant colors are present here, providing beautiful combinations. A cuff designed by Bodino is made up of green chyroprase which sits inside purple sapphires and diamonds of white gold. Another cuff features light pink opals set against pink sapphires and diamonds, mounted in rose gold.

It is a year of new influences at the 2014 Biennale des Antiquaires. Well, new influences that, at the same time, happen to be old. Top designers found a wealth of inspiration for color and tone in the works of famous artists of the past. This inspiration is credited with producing collections of vibrancy, elegance, and simplicity. It’s a communication between the arts. Indeed, it’s like a miniature renaissance in jewelry.

Read more Segmation blog posts about art and color:

Basic Color Theory – Color Matters

Can Color Exist in the Dark?

The Psychology of Color

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Outside the Lines: Art Trivia Segmation

The Expressive Vincent van Gogh

The Expressive Vincent van Gogh

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(1) Which Painter was a laborer in the Panama Canal?
(a) Vincent Van Gogh
(b) Charles Laval
(c) Paul Gaugin
(d) Emile Bernard

 
(2) English artist Andy Brown created a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by stitching what together?
(a) Old napkins
(b) 1,000 used tea bags
(c) Strands of colored yarn
(d) Scraps of paper

 
(3) Which country published the first illustrated children’s book in 1658?
(a) France
(b) England
(c) Japan
(d) Germany

 
(4) What was the building that is now famously known as the Louvre Museum and Art Gallery used for in 1190?
(a) A fortress
(b) A library
(c) A Justice Building
(d) A prison

 
(5) Whose painting, titled Impressions Sunrise, gave the Impressionistic style its name?
(a) Eugene Delacroix
(b) Edouard Manet
(c) Gustave Courbet
(d) Claude Monet

Answers found at the end.

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Answers: (1) c) Paul Gaugin (2) b) 1,000 used tea bags (3) d) Germany (4) a) A fortress (5) d) Claude Monet

Giotto di Bondone – Father of European Painting (www.segmation.com)


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Giotto di Bondone (c. 1267 – 1337), known simply as Giotto, was a Florentine painter and architect. He is now considered the first great master of the Italian Renaissance and the founder of modern European painting. Giotto’s natural and realistic style broke away from the symbolism of Byzantine art and was the catalyst that marked the start of the Renaissance.

Giotto was born in a small hamlet north of Florence. His father was a farmer and Giotto probably spent much of his youth as a shepherd. According to art historian Giorgio Vasari, the renowned Florentine artist, Cimabue, who was the last great painter in the Byzantine style, discovered the young Giotto drawing pictures of sheep on a rock. Cimabue was so impressed by the young boy’s talent that he immediately took him on as an apprentice. That story may be apocryphal but by around 1280 Giotto was working in Florence and by 1312 he was a member of the Florentine Guild of doctors and apothecaries, a guild that also included painters. He traveled to Rome with Cimabue and may well have worked on some of the master’s commissions.

Giotto signed his name to just three paintings. All other attributions to him are speculative and the unresolved controversy has raged through the art world for over a hundred years. Nevertheless, his work stands at the brink of a new age in art. He concentrated on representing human emotions, people in everyday situations, and capturing the human experience through his art.

Although he lacked the technical knowledge of perspective, he created a convincing three-dimensional pictorial space. His genius was immediately recognized by his contemporaries; he was lauded by great philosophers, writers and thinkers of his day, among them Dante and Boccaccio. Under Giotto’s leadership the old, stylized Byzantine art forms slowly disappeared from Florence, and later from other Italian cities. His freedom of expression influenced artists of the early and high Renaissance, and changed the course of European painting.

One of Giotto’s finest works is the series of frescoes painted 1304-1305 for the Scrovegni chapel in Padua, usually known as the Arena Chapel. The 37 scenes depict the lives of Christ and the Virgin Mary and are considered to be one of the masterpieces of the Early Renaissance. The figures in his paintings interact, gossip, and look at each other.

From 1306 to 1311 Giotto was in Assisi where some art historians believe he painted the fresco cycle of the Life of St. Francis. Although the style of the frescoes is realistic and breaks away from the Byzantine stylization, the controversy is caused by the stylistic differences between the St. Francis and Arena Chapel frescoes. Documents that could have proved the origin of the commissions were destroyed by Napoleon’s troops when they occupied the town in the early 19th century.

Giotto received commissions from princes and high officials of the church in Florence, Naples and Rome. Most scholars agree that he painted the frescoes in the Church of the Santa Croce in Florence and although he never signed the Ognissanti Madonna altarpiece, the Florentine work is universally recognized as being by him. It is known that Giotto was in Florence from 1314-1327 and the large panel painting depicting the Virgin was painted around 1310. The face of the Virgin is so expressive that it may well have been painted using a live model.

Towards the end of his life, Giotto was assigned to build the Campanile of the Florence Cathedral. In 1334 he was named chief architect and, although the Campanile is known as “Giotto’s Tower,” it was probably not built to his design specifications.

Giotto died in January, 1337. Even his burial place is surrounded by mystery. Vasari believed he was buried in the Cathedral of Florence, while other scholars claimed he was buried in the Church of Santa Reparata. But Giotto left an artistic legacy that could not be ignored. His disciples, Bernardo Daddi and Taddeo Gaddi continued in the master’s tradition and, a century later, the artistic torch lit by Giotto was passed on to Michelangelo and Raphael, the great masters of the High Renaissance.

Giotto made a radical break from the Byzantine (abstract – anti-naturalistic) style and brought more life to art. Giotto primarily painted Christian themes depicted in cycles and is best known for his frescos in various Chapels (Arene Chapel, Florence Cathedral, Assisi, Scrovegni).

Our pattern set collection features many of his more familiar works including the Ognissanti Madonna, The Mourning of Christ, The Marriage at Cana, The Mourning of St. Francis, Crucifixion and Madonna and Child.

Giotto di Bondone

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Art Often Begins With a Pencil (www.segmation.com)

Pencils are the most basic art tool used by nearly every medium. For example:

  • Painters use pencils to draft quick thumbnail sketches in their journals, and many use pencils to outline the composition on their canvas.
  • Sculptors frequently brainstorm ideas in pencil, carefully considering each angle of the sculpture in their sketchbooks in order to work out potential problems before tackling actually the 3-D form.
  • Even digital artists typically sketch their designs first on paper using a good old-fashioned pencil. The pencil sketches are often scanned into the computer and digitized, forming the first layer of what is often a complex, multi-layered work of digital art.

We are so used to working in pencil that we often don’t stop to think about how wonderful and versatile a tool it really is. Pencil marks are easily erasable, which gives us the freedom to make mistakes over and over and correct them as many times as we need. Pencils can be sharpened to a fine point – great for detail – and they can also go blunt, which is ideal for shading.

Pencil “lead” is composed of graphite, which is a form of carbon, which is mixed with a clay binder. The grey-black marks made by pencils can be beautiful in and of themselves; some artists use pencils as their main medium, producing sensitive and delicate artworks that are inspiring because they are made with one of the most basic art tools: a pencil.
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The Many Different Hues of Blue

The Many Different Hues of Blue.

The Many Different Hues of Blue

The Many Different Hues of Blue.