Impressionist painter Claude Monet moved to London in 1870, at the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war. He was excited to to see the works of Constable and, above all, Turner. He made many paintings of London but his pictures were refused by the Royal Academy exhibition.
Monet said he’d never seen so many shades of grey as he found in London. ‘Without the fog, London would not be a beautiful city,’ he said. ‘It’s the fog that gives it its magnificent breadth.’
Those thick London fogs are gone now, thanks to the fact we not longer burn coal (and other unspeakable things), but we do sometimes get thin, scintillating mists that shroud the buildings and vistas in a shimmering veil of grey.
Today was one of those days. So here you have it: a Claude Monet Day.
Monet’s London paintings:
Waterloo Bridge, Grey Weather Chicago Art Institute
The Thames below Westminster, National Gallery London