Henry Good­man’s Favourite Paint­ing

Country Life Every Week - - Contents -

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

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