Thursday, January 27, 2005

Show Me the Monet.

Since my membership expires this Saturday, Monday was my last chance to visit the "Monet's London" exhibit at The St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts. I managed to make it despite the oily smoke curling from underneath the hood of my ’84 Chrysler LeBaron.

The exhibit runs until April 16, so there’s plenty of opportunity to make it. I just wanted to take advantage of the free access that members get on Mondays. Tickets are 12 dollars normally

Take a few minutes for you eyes to adjust. The light levels are quite low for the protection of the paper media.. Also, bring a small notebook or a sketchpad fro recording thoughts or information from the exhibition signage. There’s enough material here for a term paper or an undergraduate thesis.

The exhibit highlights three of Monet’s beautiful atmospheric renderings of the Houses of Parliament. The contrast between the paintings underscores the focus of Monet’s Impressionist technique: the study of light and atmosphere. Other paintings by Pissaro and Derain, present impressionist interpretations of the same scenes, but the body of the exhibition is compose of less adventurous techniques than impressionism, notably etchings photographs and watercolors by artists such as Whistler and Joseph Pennell., all depicting the Thames River between 1859 and 1914

One painting, which I found especially amusing was James Tissot’s The Thames, showing a man and two women in a motorboat, placidly tooling along past the busy industrial waterfront, with their two dogs and a generous supply of champagne.

From what I’ve heard, The Exhibit has been well attended, with daily numbers as high as three thousand. I can also attest that the exhibit is well documented with well-written signage explaining the relevance and subject of each artwork. With it’s narrow focus on The River Thames, Monet’s London offers an unique insight into the Victorian world.

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