Henry Goodman’s Favourite Painting
The actor chooses a work that conveys ‘Monet’s passionate determination to capture Nature in the moment’
This painting really conveys Monet’s passionate need and determination to capture Nature in the moment. I admire the fact that he made many different studies of the same view in order to capture the rapidly changing light and textures of his surroundings. I’ve always felt that his and Manet’s work embodies a revolution in feeling as well as in form. The process of narrating Monet’s personal letters–which are extremely poignant and full of feeling– for the film I, Claude Monet only made more’ me admire him even
The critic Clive Bell with hindsight called Manet a ‘sale bourgeois’ only interested in ‘honours’, perhaps envious of the artist’s private income and social superiority. Manet’s father was a judge, his mother the goddaughter of the Swedish Crown Prince Charles Bernadotte. For Monet and his generation of plein air Impressionist painters, Manet, their elder, was a leader: a painters’ painter and force for change. But Manet would not exhibit with them. For him, the battle had to be won in the official Salon.
The similarity of Monet’s name to his could be infuriating. he was once congratulated on two Monet seascapes. ‘Who is this rascal who pastiches my painting so basely?’ he exclaimed. But his resistance softened, especially with regard to Monet’s continuing penury. he became a financial port of call and even exhibited Monet’s pictures in his studio to help find buyers. In the summer of 1874, soon after Manet’s refusal to be included in the first Impressionist show, he and Monet sometimes painted together at Argenteuil on the Seine.
Landscape convention was to sketch outdoors and paint in the studio. Metal paint tubes enabled Monet to be the champion of painting en plein air. Water was a lifelong challenge and he hired a second-hand boat, which he used as a studio, capturing the ever-changing river ‘from one twilight to the next’. Manet now called him ‘the Raphael of water’.
In this painting of Monet with his wife, Camille, Manet paid him the compliment of adopting Impressionist technique to paint the water. he was particularly fond of it, calling it ‘Monet in his Studio’.
Monet in his
Studio Boat, 1874, by Edouard Manet (1832–83), 32½in by 39½in, Neue Pinakothek, Munich, Germany
Henry Goodman is an actor. I, Claude Monet is released in cinemas nationwide from February 21