|Impression soleil levant|
Oil on canvas
|This was the painting that gave rise to the title Impressionists. 'One of the canvases submitted for the First Impressionist Exhibition in 1874, this was singled out by an antagonistic critic as typifying the "half-finished" look of all the works on show, and he dubbed the group "Impressionists."In the personal terminology Monet used to describe his various types of paintings he would normally have called this work a pochade (sketch). However, as he said himself, he called it "impression" because "it really could not pass as a view of Le Havre," and he subsequently used the same word for a number of his paintings, all of them quick atmospheric sketches capturing a particular light effect. An "impression" for Monet was a special and limited form of sketch, and although the other Impressionists accepted the word as a reasonable description of their aims, Monet himself used it only when he felt it appropriate to a particular work.'|
excerpt from Monet by Trewin Copplestone
The following information is from dummies.com/the-birth-of-impressionism-manet-and-monet.html.
She reclines, more or less.
Try that posture, it’s hardly languor.
Her right arm sharp angles.
With her left she conceals her ambush.
Shoes but not stockings,
how sinister. The flower
behind her ear is naturally
not real, of a piece
with the sofa’s drapery.
The windows (if any) are shut.
This is indoor sin.
Above the head of the (clothed) maid
is an invisible voice balloon: Slut.
But. Consider the body,
unfragile, defiant, the pale nipples
staring you right in the bull’s-eye.
Consider also the black ribbon
around the neck. What’s under it?
A fine red threadline, where the head
was taken off and glued back on.
The body’s on offer,
but the neck’s as far as it goes.
This is no morsel.
Put clothes on her and you’d have a schoolteacher,
the kind with the brittle whiphand.
There’s someone else in this room.
You, Monsieur Voyeur.
As for that object of yours
she’s seen those before, and better.
I, the head, am the only subject
of this picture.
You, Sir, are furniture.
by Margaret Atwood
It makes me wish I had been there at the exhibition to see the outrage. Although, remembering my confusion and fascination with Manet's Dejeuner sur l'herbe as a teenager, I might have been as disturbed as everyone else.
Looking at copies of this painting on the internet, I found an interesting comment about the controversy by one of the impressionists, .......saying (in my interpretation of his words) that since there are plenty of naked or semi-clothed women in the Louvre the outrage was unreasonable and should show people their hypocrisy. This had the effect of a revelation on me. This was conceptual art!
But then later I realised that the 'unfinished' style and the deliberate provocation could well be a reason for outrage, making it less of a masterwork of meaning than it could otherwise have been.