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Rock points at Port-Goulphar
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Group: Forces of Nature

Artist: Claude MONET
Birth/Death: 1840–1926

Title: Rock points at Port-Goulphar
Date Made: 1886

Lender: Cincinnati Art Museum

Rock points at Port-Goulphar is one of Monet’s most ‘Japanese’ compositions. Like many Japanese landscapes, he has created an asymmetrical balance between the rocks on the right and the empty sea on the left. The beautifully tinted sky recalls the golden, or rose stained, skies of many of Monet’s Japanese prints.

Stabbing diagonal brushstrokes, and writhing contours, form rocks that are as abstract as those in Japanese art. Japanese prints were translations of brush paintings, and the dynamic movement of the brush, in both prints and paintings of coastal scenes, creates a sense of space.

Monet’s mobile brushstrokes invite the viewer to a similar active exploration of space. A great sense of depth is created by the overlapping succession of spiky, silhouetted rocks. One is invited to look into the submerged depths of water below the rocks, or to glide across the water’s surface, with its ever-changing colours. It is a small painting, but Monet’s expression of space suggests the infinite.

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