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Discover the Impressionist technique with Claude Monet

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After having discovered the technique of the Impressionists and their understanding of time, the children will learn to develop their sensitivity and create emotion in the manner of Claude Monet.

Using this sheet, discover one of the leaders of the Impressionist movement: Claude Monet. After having discovered the technique of the Impressionists and their understanding of time, the children will learn to develop their sensitivity and create emotion in the manner of Monet.

Painting in the style of the Impressionists is being able to find the sense of freedom that guided this group of dissidents. It's submitting oneself to contours without being trapped. The idea is also to give free rein to colour, material and texture. An exciting composition game for all ages!


Historic period: 19th century - Impressionism.


Claude Monet was a French painter born in Paris on the 14th November 1840 and died in Giverny on the 5th December 1926. Directly linked with the origins of Impressionism with his canvas "Impression, sunrise", Claude Monet went on to dominate this movement that introduced modernity to art in the 19th century. Nicknamed the "Raphael of water" by Manet, he left behind an immense body of work.





Context and analysis of the œuvre



At the end of the 19th century, a small group of young painters who broke away from the conventions of traditional painting gathered in private workshops to give free rein to their imagination and desire to create something different. There we find Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne and Camille Pissaro. Today these names are celebrated, but at the time they were literally shouted down by critics and shunned by the general public.

Taking advantage of innovations such as paint in tubes and the portable easel, they left to explore France and the neighbouring countries to capture the changing city and countryside landscapes on their canvases.


In 1863, Édouard Manet's "Luncheon on the Grass" was banned from the Salon de Paris exhibition as it was considered to not conform with the artistic directives and correct customs of the time. In fact, it depicted a nude woman in a natural environment and not mythological or historical.


Outraged by this refusal, the group of artists organised the "Salon des Refusés" (Exhibition of the Refused), a parallel exhibition in the workshop of a Parisian photographer, Nadar.

This is where Claude Monet presented his "Impression, sunrise" and became the target of an art critic who wrote an acerbic article, "L'éxposition des impressionnistes" (The Impressionist Exhibition) to denounce the unfinished aspect of the works.

He unknowingly gave the name to one of the most successful movements in modern art history, and was perhaps the reason that this group of dissidents exhibited together no fewer than seven times before 1886!


Analysis of the work


1. In terms of form

"Impression, sunrise" is an oil on canvas painting (43cm x 63cm), now exhibited at the Musée Marmottant in Paris.

It depicts a view of the old port of Le Havre that Monet painted during a stay in the city of his childhood.

It is possible to divide this image into three parts: the first two thirds depict the sea and the port, and the third is given over to the sky.


2. In terms of technique

Like Delacroix and the other Impressionists, Monet preferred pure, primary and complementary colours. He painted on light backgrounds to reflect the light and proceeded with his paintbrush to do small, quick touches, kind of small commas on the canvas.

In Monet's work, there are practically no straight lines and it's those touches of colour that evoke form, the mineral or vegetal material, and the movement of natural elements.

Often, Money painted the same motif over and over to work on the effect of the different lights on the atmosphere or the materials.


3. In terms of meaning

An admirer of the English painter William Turner, Monet painted until 1890 landscapes such as the port in "Impression, sunrise", but also cathedrals, bridges, portraits and cities. After this date, he devoted his time even more to landscapes because he wanted to immortalise the immediacy of natural phenomena on the canvas, as well as the effect of time passing.


4. In terms of use

One can quite easily compare impressionism to photography. Like a photographer would do, Monet looked to capture the fleeting instant and replicate on the canvas all the subtle variations of a landscape or an object depending on the day, the time or the season.


1 - Teaching objectives: children between 3 and 6


Matériels :

- White drawing paper (C grain) 180 g/m2

- Photocopies of the drawn tree

- Black felt-tip pen

- Paint

- Paintbrushes




- Discover the techniques of Impressionism

- Improve dexterity with painting

- Work on composition


Operating procedure:

Ask the children to make their own Impressionist painting.

Draw first of all the contours of a tree with a black felt-tip pen on a white sheet of paper, this will be the frame or mould for the children. Give the children photocopies of your tree, then suggest they paint the leaves and the trunk. Indicate to the children that using small touches of paint and the superposition of colour they will be able to give their painting an Impresionist character and atmosphere.

Tell them they can by all means go over the lines of the tree as the Impressionist style is characterised by imprecise shapes and sketches, as in "Impression, sunrise" by Monet.


2 - Teaching objectives: for children from 7 to 11



 - Photos of the courtyard

- Paint

- Paintbrushes

- White drawing paper (C grain) 180 g/m2




- Work on light

- Discover a new approach to colour


Operating procedure:

Through their paintings, the Impressionists often looked to translate light, vibrations and emanations.

You can therefore propose to the children that they work on this theme by making a series of paintings each of the same landscape at different times of the day.

To do this, distribute to the children photos of their school courtyard taken by you at different times: a day of blue sky, a misty day, a stormy day etc. Display enlarged versions of these photos and ask the children to paint this landscape in each kind of weather. Draw their attention to the different variations of colour observable between each shot: this is what the Impressionists looked to depict, capturing in this way the effect of different kinds of light on the atmosphere.


In order to put them in the shoes of the Impressionists, you can also work in realistic conditions, as they did at the time! Therefore, ask the children to get set up outside and invite them to sketch an element of the landscape that they are drawn to.


Come back with the children the next day and do the exercise again whilst letting them know that they subject of their painting must be the same as the one the day before! Then, invite the children to compare their two productions and verbally express the differences they see.


Tip :

Has this sheet inspired you? Why not continue the adventure! To do this Canson invites you to showcase the work of your students and share them with our community. No matter what the subject is, we'll be delighted to see your creativity! If you want to do this, contact us using the contact form.

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