Getty Museum Visit
Essay Preview: Getty Museum Visit
Report this essay
After I had entered the room, I realized what it was about Impressionistic art that I loved so much. The amazing color. The nonconformity. The raw emotion. What a surreal feeling it was to stand there before the works of greatsÐ–the works of masters. Such a feeling I had only felt a few times beforehand, yet none had ever dealt with historical masterpiecesÐ–masterpieces that would alter the foundation of art and visual media until the end of time.
As I strolled the room, I took care to notice every piece of art that was displayed. The van Gogh caught my eye immediately, but, unfortunately, there were restrictions on my ability to write about it. There had to be about forty works in the room. No sooner than I had started to look around again, however, that a second painting caught my eye. I had never seen it before, but something about it looked very familiar. Possibly the brilliant orange glistening over the mind-numbing grays and blues. Or maybe it was the quick brushstrokes that seemed to want to move quickly enough to literally capture the light being emitted from the incandescent sun. Whatever the case, as I stepped closer to the work, I realized what should have been obvious the second I placed my gaze upon it. It was a Monet.
Indeed, Claude Monet had painted this wonderful Sunrise with oils on a canvas in the spring of 1873. Displayed at nineteen and a quarter by twenty-three and a half inches in the Impressionist room at the Getty Center, this magnificent work of art was one of the first examples of the Impressionist style of painting (Getty didactic placard). The focus of this painting is a boat sitting serenely in the water during sunrise. The boat is surrounded by several other ships captured in the dense morning fog, which is slowly being dissipated by the rising sun. The mixture of colors is beautiful; Monet truly achieves his goal of capturing what the eye sees, reflecting the light of the sun perfectly onto the water and creating a shimmering effect that would be apparent if one could see this scene in actuality. According to Deborah Gribbon, the director of the J. Paul Getty Museum, his goal was apparently not to just portray the “play of light across the water, but to recreate the same effects. Short dabs of paintÐcreate optical liveliness”(Getty audio tour). The painting is clearly a work of the Impressionist period, noticeable through the use of quick, short brushstrokes and the capturing of a moment in time and space. The “globs” of paint are undeniably more defined in this painting than any earlier period or style of painting. Painted in the shadow of the Franco-Prussian War, this painting could also “suggest a new day dawning in France”(Getty Museum Website, Sunrise).
Continuing my visit, I looked to my right and saw a Renoir. I did not choose this painting, however, for the one to the left of Sunrise caught my eye more vigorously. The oil was entitled Hermitage Garden, Maison Rouge and it was painted by Camille Pissarro in 1877. From the center of the Impressionist room, this oil looks like a blurry photograph. At closer inspection, however, one can see the clearly defined short and choppy brushstrokes, as well as the subject matterÐ–two people in a garden. There is an older woman that appears to be sewing and a child that is playing on the ground, both of whom clearly concentrating on their respective tasks (Getty didactic placard). This painting, very characteristic of the Impressionist period, offers a relatively light color palate and a depiction of daily action and movement. The trees and gardens surrounding the women are represented in great detailÐ–the leaves and flowers easily identifiable through the prominent Impressionist brushstrokes. The use of paint on this oil is also more rough and liberal than that of earlier styles.
After observing the two works, both prominent examples of Impressionist art of the late nineteenth century, it is apparent that there are several similarities and differences between them. Both show use of the quick, short brushstrokes that made Impressionist art so popular, as well as the use of a lighter color palate. They are both significant examples of the plein eir, or “outdoor” approach to painting (Getty Museum Website, Sunrise). As well as capturing a single moment in time, both paintings give the illusion of movement and liveliness.