La cathédrale de Rouen: Le portail (Effet du matin) (Rouen Cathedral: The Portal, Morning)
Claude Monet, 1894
Claude Monet once wished he had been born blind so that, when his sight was restored, he could see everything with a completely new vision. To achieve this, he painted 30 versions of Rouen Cathedral that reveal the cinematic aspect of his art.... Monet raced back and forth between these canvases, painting a whole sequence simultaneously, just as a silent film director rushed from scene to scene. His paintings were motion pictures. Monet’s eye was the camera, the cathedral his image, the paint his unexposed film, the canvas his screen.
Both verbal and visual art reflected the rapid industrial and technological changes that took place in the 19th century. The factory smoke polluting the landscape and steaming trains rushing through the countryside in the background of Monet’s earlier pictures suggest the transition from pastoral to urban life, from plein air painting to indoor filming....