OIL PAINTING: The Japanese Bridge, 1918
As a young man looking at nature and trying to come up with a visual equivalent, Monet supposedly asked, "What do you do with all those leaves?" (other than paint each one, one by one). Monet figured it out, without painting each one - by just suggesting, not spelling out. Yet his images have the conviction of nature. The Impressionists are so-called not just because they worked loosely, with small spontaneous dabs. Their important contribution was their use of color - by using the color theories developed in the 19th century, they optically mixed color with red next to yellow, rather than orange, and many more subtle, unnamable colors in this fashion. Monet's use of color complementaries and harmonies changed the entire course of painting, going from the value-based traditional painting, to the color-based modern vision. Where black had been the common denominator, violet, red, green, yellow, and blue now described a modern world in constant motion, with casual and spontaneous force.