Sunday, February 21, 2010
a photograph of Claude Monet at just 20...
Well, here is our Claude at about the age of twenty, perhaps a little younger. To me he looks a little uncomfortable to find himself in a photographer's studio, a little uncertain as to how he will appear. He is delightfully handsome. If he was twenty, he had been experimenting with landscape painting for three years and accumulated a good portfolio of chalk sketches of boats. (A book called The Unknown Monet has a great number of these.)
Looking at this picture now, we know the end of the story: the vast gardens at Giverny, the six stepchildren and two sons, the great fame. Who was he then, not wanting to go into his father's grocery business but escaping to Paris to follow art? We know how his story concludes and that even now, eighty-four years after his death, his art, which no one wanted at that time, is some of the most beloved in the world. We know this...but to the young man in this picture, the future with all its difficulties and joys was utterly unknown.