Claude Monet’s “Waterloo Bridge”


This essay discusses a piece of art “Waterloo Bridge” of famous French painter Claude Monet. Once, speaking about fog Claude Monet claimed, “London wouldn’t be a beautiful city. It’s the fog that gives it its magnificent breadth.” The painting “Waterloo Bridge” makes a fascinating charming impression. In the background of the picture we can guess factory chimneys, bustling industrial life of London. The foreground shows the mirroring waters of the River Thames, peace and quiet, which are only occasionally disturbed by splash of oars of several boats sailing through the passages of the bridge.

During the period from 1899 – 1901 years, Claude Monet regularly traveled to London in winter months. He liked that especial view of the Thames with Waterloo Bridge, shrouded in mist, which opened from his balcony room in the hotel “Savoy”.

One of the founders of Impressionism always aspired to find something new in art and avant-garde experiments. Most of all, he was attracted by the opportunity of pictorial transmission of transitional atmospheric conditions – fog, rain, snow, frost, dew. Claude Monet, being very sensitive about the surrounding reality, was struck by the weather of London and its fabulous fog. Contemplation of the local unique landscapes has inspired Monet to the idea of creating a new series of works.

It seems, a lilac color fills the whole space of the painting, but try to consider a masterpiece at a certain distance. It is charming, very soft, almost air-light and relaxing view of the Thames, the outlines of the bridge and some other smaller items. Such dense and at the same time hardly touchable volume of the painting has been achieved by the artist through the use of a huge amount of tonal transitions, shades which sometimes are barely distinguishable.

This is a special artistic technique of the master. All the magic of this work is revealed when the viewer moves away from painting for some distance. First, we see the manifestation of incomprehensible shapes of the semicircles passing through the center of the picture, then the obvious silhouettes of boats and at a distance of about two meters from the picture all little details of the artwork are suddenly drawn and lined up into a single composition.