Contemporizing History


A Painter’s Break, 2018
Acrylic on Canvas
– Inspired by Claude Monet –

        Jean Monet on His Hobby Horse, is an oil painting done by Claude Monet in 1872. Monet’s son, Jean Monet, was born in 1867 and was five years old when this painting was completed. This work had never been exposed to the public until Monet died in 1926. By looking back on Monet’s life, he was in France when he was working on this piece because Monet fled with his family to avoid the Franco-Prussian War, which happened in 1870, and came back from England a few years later. It seems that Monet wanted to commemorate the scene of Jean peacefully riding the tricycle after their refugee life.

        I paid attention to the point that this painting was done for Monet’s personal memory of his family.  Unlike his public works, Monet never exhibited this work while he was alive and always carried this painting whenever he moved. In contemporary world, most people upload the images on their social media accounts, such as Instagram and Facebook, in order to record their memories. If Monet were in today’s contemporary society, he would probably have a social media account and share his personal sketches or paintings among his friends. What I tried to show through my painting, A Painter’s Break, is the scene suggesting a painter is looking at his or her personal images uploaded on the social media account; the image is shared only for his or her close friends unlike their other artworks to be sold.

        To sum up, as a father before a painter, Monet made a quick painting while his son was on the toy horse tricycle. He always carried this work although he never exposed it to the public. Through my painting, I contemporized the point that the original artwork was created for recording Monet’s personal moments. In a contemporary context, the image sharing system through social media services is a common method for people to record personal visual memories.