A Comparison of Sunrise by Claude Monet and Self Portrait With Gray Hat by Vincent Van Gogh

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For my compare and contrast essay I have chosen the painting “Sunrise” by Claude Monet. Claude Monet is an impressionist who painted with stress on color and light. Monet painted the “Sunrise” in 1872. This is during the time where impressionism was at its most potent.

The scene is of a body of water possibly a river, with row boats on it. The time of day seems to be dawn when the sun is just rising over the horizon. Monet uses brush strokes to make shapes but in contrast there are no real definite shapes. He uses shades of blue to capture the light on the earth as the sun rises. Orange is used above the sun to show the sun rays beaming through the darkness.

The texture of the painting seems to be rough because of the paint strokes and you can see the difference between the depths of each stroke. His stroke use in this work reminds me of the stroke work in Vincent Van Gogh’s, “Self Portrait with Gray Hat”. Van Gogh’s stroke work is very visible and seems to be of a rough texture.

There is a rhythm to the waves in the water apparently being produced by the boats. The painting is asymmetric in balance. Both sides of the scene are not exactly alike so the work is not symmetric. On the other hand, the colors used to depict the land, sky and water are balanced in a way that nothing looks out of place. If Monet were to put a green tree in the middle of all the bluish-purple trees then the painting would not be balanced and the tree would be out of place. However, all the colors used are uniformed and blend into each other. I believe that Monet was just giving us a glimpse of what he sees. In the morning I imagine that these boats are filled with fishermen going out into the waters to work all day and bring home food for there families.

The painting that I chose to compare Monet’s “Sunrise” with is Edgar Degas’, “The Ballet Class”. Edgar Degas is also categorized as an impressionist. Degas painted this work of art between the years of 1879-1880.

At looking at this piece compared to “Sunrise”, I immediately see that Degas’ subjects are more defined and more detailed, unlike Monet’s, where you assume the sex and the business of the subjects. Monet is not really focusing on the subject but the painting as a whole to tell a story, where Degas’ ballerinas, instructor and bystander tells the story of what is happening.

Strokes in the painting. “The Ballet Class”, are not as obvious as the stroke work in “Sunrise”. In Degas’ work, ballerinas are in class with an apparent teacher and an on-looker. This scene of the ballerinas is inside a building and looking outside the window in the painting it seems to be daytime. This is opposite of Monet’s work where it is obviously set in the outdoors and at sunrise. “The Ballet Class” is balanced asymmetrically because of the different groups people on each side of the room. The colors are a lot brighter in this work. He uses whites, yellows, light blues, browns and pinks. He also uses a wider array of colors than Monet.

Both of the works are oil on canvass. Obviously Degas had stretched out his work and Monet did not. You can tell this by comparing the details between the two pieces. Monet’s work is smaller than Degas’.

I personally like both works. I like Monet’s sunrise because of the natural colors of the sun rising. I like Degas because it is light and detailed. They are both successful in being works of art. No one artist is the exact copy of another. If all impressionists were the same, would it be art. I think not. Art is a way of expressing one’s self thoughts and feelings. If artists just copied each other there would be no expression. So, yes, each of these art works of art. Monet’s painting gives me the sense of serenity.

It is always so quiet and calm in the morning especially before everybody wakes up. It is so very peaceful. Degas work gives me a sense of being an onlooker. I actually do not really get an emotion looking at this piece. I think that it is beautiful and very good. However, it gives me no emotion what so ever. I guess over all that I enjoy “Sunrise” more than “The Ballet Class”, that is if I had to choose. The reason I would choose Monet over Degas is because of the emotion that I feel. I am led by emotions when it comes to art and Degas’ did not lead me anywhere.

Cite this paper

A Comparison of Sunrise by Claude Monet and Self Portrait With Gray Hat by Vincent Van Gogh. (2023, May 23). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/a-comparison-of-sunrise-by-claude-monet-and-self-portrait-with-gray-hat-by-vincent-van-gogh/

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