When one hears the word Impressionism, the French painter Claude Monet springs to mind. He was one of the first painters who used natural light and color in an attempt to capture the essence of a scene. With this technique, Impressionism was born and it was quite revolutionary in the art world of the 1860's. Impressionist paintings are primarily landscapes; this flew in the face of convention because art had always been created indoors and depicted historical subjects. Readers will learn about the artist and art history to be sure; but will also learn quite a bit about world history as well in this superb volume. Photographs of Monet's vibrant work are stunning here and complement the text nicely. Each chapter deals with an important period in the artist's life; a paragraph summarizes that period, followed by smaller sections detailing relevant information. In the page spread entitled "Wartime," readers learn that Monet marries shortly before the Franco-Russian war. The artist and his wife escape to London during the war; there he painted many pictures of the Thames River. Concise details about the Franco-Russian war and the Paris Community (rioting in the capital that forced the government to flee to Versailles for several months) provide readers with a sense of the turbulence in Monet's country when he was a newlywed. Monet loved to travel and was very sociable. He was a contemporary of Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edouard Manet, Alfred Sisley, and Eugene Boudin. The Impressionists resisted criticism of their work, and forged the way for other innovative artists. Monet lived long enough to experience the acclaim he richly deserved. He continued to paint in his 80s, even after his eyesightfailed. A glossary and index are found at the back of this engrossing title, which is one in the publisher's "Lives of the Artists" series. This book will appeal to any student interested in art; it is also likely to spark an interest where none currently exists. 2005, World Almanac Library, Ages 10 up.
Jeanne K. Pettenati, J.D.
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
Art history is boiled down to the basics here and presented for young children. Each spread provides chronological information about Monet's life with illustrations from his paintings. Monet was an Impressionist painter. The Impressionists wanted to capture nature in the changing light of day. To do this Monet painted outdoors, and worked quickly. He frequently did series of paintings of the same scene at different times. Monet particularly is well known for his series of paintings of the cathedral at Rouen. He did a lot of traveling and painted on location. He is also well known for his paintings of water. Impressionism was a new style at the time, and not immediately appreciated. A timeline and glossary are included. Part of the "Life and Work of ..." series. 2000, Heinemann Library, Ages 4 to 8, $19.92. Reviewer: Kristin Harris
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Connolly and Mason explore these artists' lives from birth through death. Their influences, styles, and mediums are related to readers in words and pictures and, quite importantly, so are the milieus in which they worked. Botticelli's Medici-controlled Florence, Rembrandt's Dutch golden age, and the experimental and innovative times of Chagall and Monet are all given emphasis. The artists' contemporaries and patrons are credited as well. The introductions contain overall chronologies of the men's lives, and time lines on each spread give a synopsis of the information presented. The books' design connects all of the related information on each spread, resulting in a layout similar to that of the "Eyewitness" books (DK): many associated paragraphs of text and pictures grouped on a spread and separated by white space or blocks of color. However, these titles have less white space, smaller type, more information, and a more sophisticated vocabulary than most "Eyewitness" titles. Though at times this makes the texts a challenge to read, the format works well to demonstrate the complexity of the artists' lives and times. The books contain numerous color reproductions and, when possible, related photographs.-Heather E. Miller, Homewood Public Library, AL Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.