Scientists uncover new details about Monet's painting with 'celestial sleuthing'
A new study has revealed that scientists have applied his distinctive brand of celestial sleuthing to French artist Claude Monet's masterpiece, uncovering new details about the painting's origins and resolving some long-standing controversies over what the canvas depicts and when it was painted.
Texas State University astronomer and physics professor Donald Olson said that for several other Monet paintings from Le Havre, we can be certain that the artist depicted the topography of the port accurately and impression, Soleil Levant likewise appears to be an accurate representation of a sparkling glitter path extending across the waters of the harbor, beneath a solar disk seen through the mist accompanying a late fall or winter sunrise.
Monet dated his signature with a "72" on the painting, but some subsequent catalogs dismiss that number and date the painting to 1873, assuming that Monet had worked in Le Havre during the spring of that year. The hazy nature of the image further confused the issue, with various sources disagreeing regarding the season of the year depicted and the direction of Monet's view. Several influential art historians even insisted that the canvas depicted a sunset, not a sunrise.
Based on Olson's research, the curators of the exhibition conclude, as the most probable date, that Monet painted Impression, Soleil Levant from his hotel room in Le Havre, France, on Nov. 13, 1872 at 7:35 a.m. local mean time.
(Posted on 04-09-2014)