Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Monet and Rodin at work


(Video link) An archival film shows impressionist painter Claude Monet chatting amiably and then (at 1:06) painting his lily pads in Giverny. Monet keeps an unlit cigarette in his mouth, dangling above his beard and his spotless white suit. A white suit is an unusual color to choose for plein-air painting not only because of the risk of getting it dirty, but because it causes so much glare. 

(Video link) Rodin cuts a different figure, looking restless, camera conscious, gnarly, and charming all at once. He only seems at home when he gets out the hammer and the chisel (at 1:25). He wears no eye protection, blinking each time he strikes with the hammer, and catching marble chips in his beard. Those chips have got to hurt when they get in your eye.
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And now for something completely different.... rare footage of Queen Victoria and Gladstone. Thanks, EZ Goodnight!

Thanks to Nick Wallace Smith, who has other archival films of artists and dancers.

14 comments:

Dar Presto said...

"Rodin cuts a different figure." Thank you for that.

Tom Hart said...

Love these clips James! It's like time travel. I especially like the Rodin one, but I suppose that's because I'm more drawn to painting than sculpture. I was interested to see how quickly he decided on a color (apparently) and the speed with which he dabbed the paint on the canvas.

These are yet another reason why Gurney Journey is one of the high points of my day. And often it is so several times a day! Thanks again.

Tom Hart said...

...Oops. Typo: I meant to write that I preferred the Monet clip.

Tom Hart said...

Also, an aside. I don't know if it has to do with the recent change in access for comments, but we no longer seem to have the option of subscribing to the comments for a post. That's too bad, imho.

EZ Goodnight said...

I can't help but think of this Monty Python sketch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aR0qSf-AQlo

Steve said...

Thanks for introducing us to this collection. Seeing these led to viewing another archival film from the same collection, one of the elderly Renoir. His hands were severely crippled, probably from arthritis. He required an assistant to place the brush in his hand. Still, he painted.

Bruce said...

Seeing Rodin's face as he chips away was interesting; very intense eyes. Thanks for posting this!

raphael said...

wow, i love the rodin clip. now, if there was some footage of rodin handling clay, that would be magnificent.

also, i really love watching rodin as a rodin sculpture: how character is expressed through his gesture and demeanour. thats a metric ton of stories just in how he handles himself, his material and his tools.

Sketching Artist said...

I think that cigarette was lit! I kept waiting for the ash to fall into his beard.

Sketching Artist said...

I did a plein air sketch workshop with 15 high school kids today. Super, super fun. There were 5 other plein air groups; pastels, watercolor, photography, and oil paints. The oil paint students painted right up until the minute the bus arrived. The instructor then ran around and gave everyone a pizza box to transport their painting. I thought that was clever.

Mike Lynch Photography said...

Love Rodin's beard!

Blu said...

Thanks for sharing :-)

jane said...

Fascinating - thanks for posting. I was interested particularly that Monet held a couple of (pretty big) brushes in the same hand that held his palette. I always presumed that this was a make-believe thing, as I can't do it myself (and end up holding brushes in my mouth, usually). Maybe it's to do with the size of your hands?

Johan Derycke said...

What I found most strange about seeing Monet painting is how he and his easel are positioned in relationship to his subject: under a 90 degree angle, and on this particular side that he has his painting arm between his head and his subject.
I've seen Antonio Lop├Ęz Garcia paint in a similar way.
This is a rather awkward position to take for painting.