His painting technique was equally modern.
Fine details are sacrificed in exchange for pictorial unification: Monet’s aim was to produce a harmonious work of art, where forms and light and atmosphere blend into one resolved entity.
A suffused glow washes over the picture like a net curtain, eliminating visual clarity.
The pier and workmen in the foreground are rendered in dark brown paint, depicted with a few rough brushstrokes.
The shadows they cast on to the river below are reproduced with comma-like stabs of paint that mirror the purple, blue and white, short, horizontal broken lines with which he has painted the rest of the river.
The Houses of Parliament and Westminster Bridge are no more than silhouettes in the background, providing compositional depth and a visual signal as to the density of the fog.
The painting is sketchy almost to the point of being out of focus. Which is Monet’s great triumph.
It has enabled him to fully realize the integrated effect he set out to achieve with The Thames Below Westminster: it is a model of Impressionism.
No matter that the buildings, water and sky dissolve into one hazy landscape; such lack of intricate definition breathes life into the scene, firing the imagination of the viewer, who is drawn into the narrative of the painting as if it were a movie.
Much thanks to Will Gompertz’s book What Are You Looking At….some of the blog is directly taken from this fantastic book.