“I am exhausted, I can’t bear it any more and I had nightmares last night: the cathedral was falling down on me, it seemed to be blue, or pink or yellow.”
From 1892 to 1893, Monet painted the 31 works that comprise his Rouen Cathedral series. He was solitary and oblivious to the other artists working around him. “I am a prisoner here and must go until the end,” he wrote in 1893, describing the subject as his “cliff.” All in all, Monet’s study took four years, during which he intermittently lived and worked in Rouen. In 1892, Monet took a room across from the cathedral at 25, place de la Cathédrale and then, in 1893, lived in a second-story room at 18, rue Grand-Pont, again within sight of the cathedral. Once the preliminary paintings were created, he then finished the work in his studio in Giverny in 1894.
Other artists like Corot, Pissarro, and Gauguin were also attracted by the beauty of this medieval city and painted here. You can still see some of the scenes that the artists loved.
Rouen is home to the Museé des Beaux-Arts, which holds the largest collection of Impressionist art outside of Paris. This year, as the one of main events of the Normandy Impressionist Festival, the museum will host the exhibition “Dazzling Reflections” featuring 100 Impressionist masterpieces. The exhibition runs from April 29 to September 30.
Don’t miss Rouen – it should be on your wish list of travel destinations this year.
To learn more about Rouen and the Impressionists, pick up a copy of Art+Paris Impressionists from Museyon Guides.