Claude Monet, a renowned French Impressionist painter, created twelve oil paintings depicting the interior of the Gare Saint-Lazare railway station in Paris in 1877. The series showcases an array of atmospheric conditions and points of view, with particular attention to light and steam. This was Monet’s first systematic effort to depict changes in light and time of day on one subject.
The Gare Saint-Lazare station was an obvious example of Paris’s newly built structures, and Monet sought to be remembered as a painter of the “modern” world. His friend Gustave Caillebotte was also working on paintings around Gare Saint-Lazare’s Quartier de l’Europe, which may have influenced Monet. The paintings were criticized when first exhibited in 1877. However, they marked a turning point for Monet’s creative work since Paris commenced resembling a theatrical performance.
Monet previously painted variations on themes before painting the ‘Saint-Lazare Station.’ Light played a crucial role within his work during this period but became more distinct with this series. Steam locomotives were still prevalent at that time and created ever-changing condensation patterns from their exhausts – these patterns would often blur the edges between the background and foreground elements within each painting.
Overall, through his systematic effort to depict changes in light and time of day using combined elements like steam within various atmospheric conditions visible at different points inside a railway station gives way for rapturous art viewing experience beyond contemporary expectations – these paintings by Claude Monet should never be underestimated or overlooked when studying Impressionism thoroughly.