Key Ideas about this Work of Art
- Claude Monet painted at least 20 versions of this scene depicting morning sunlight on the Seine River (commonly referred to as “the Seine”) in France. He painted the same scene at different stages of sunrise and in a variety of weather conditions.
- Monet belonged to a group of painters called the Impressionists. One thing that was very important to them was showing the way light could change the appearance of a place (especially outdoors).
- Monet used a soft paintbrush and gentle brushstrokes to create this painting. This makes the texture of the painting look smoother.
- The Seine River extends from Paris all the way to the channel between England and France. This river makes it possible for ships to carry products in and out of the city with ease.
For two years (1896 through 1897) Claude Monet woke up every morning at 3:30 to paint. By the time the sun came up in the French village of Giverny, Monet was already in the small boat he kept tied to a tree branch along the Seine. He sat in his floating art studio each day and created paintings of the early morning sunlight on the water.
Someone who saw Monet working on this project said he worked on 14 different paintings of the same scene at the same time. He moved from one painting-in-progress to another as the sun came up and burned through the fog. Monet spent the 1890s working on his “series paintings.” They depict the same place in different types of light, at different times of the day, and in a variety of weather conditions. He created at least 20 different paintings of the Seine. This version is one of the most delicate. The details of the landscape in the distance appear slightly blurry. This creates the effect of sunlight shining through the mist.
Monet’s Mornings on the Seine series is different from the more colorful style of his earlier paintings (like The Cliff, Étretat, Sunset). The paintings depict the same place, but there are fewer bright colors in the Mornings on the Seine paintings. The brushstrokes in these paintings are softer and closer together, which makes them appear smoother in texture.
tags: environment, water, observation, reflection, change, perspective, time, weather
Resources for Teachers:
- Watch a video about Claude Monet.
- Review a student-made concept map for creative ideas on making connections with this painting.
- View and compare one of Monet’s Water Lilies paintings with The Seine at Giverny, Morning Mists.
Resources for Students: