Monet and his Cathedrals

Monet and his Cathedrals

It is difficult to spend a few days in Rouen without feeling the ever-present past of the famous Impressionist painter in the capital of Normandy.

Between 1892 and 1893, Claude Monet painted a series of canvases of the Rouen Cathedral of Notre Dame. He painted from different points of view and at different times of day. The painter finished no fewer than 30 canvases with the cathedral as his model. Claude Monet immortalised the Rouen Cathedral of Notre Dame from three points of view. The first paintings were painted in February 1892 and represent the cathedral seen from the Cour d’Albane. These canvases would be the only ones painted in the open air.

He then took up residence in a workshop which would change twice. Particularly he installed himself on the first floor of the Finance Office, the current Tourist Office in Rouen. He produced 28 views of the West Facade at different times of day. The entirety was painted between 1892 and 1893 during two distinct campaigns and post-dated 1894. Claude Monet painted up to 14 versions at a time, moving from one canvas to another depending on the variation of light and the time of day.

It was only around 10 days before finishing his cathedral campaign that Monet entered the cathedral for the first time after having spent two years in front of its facade. 20 of these canvases were presented in 1895 to the trader Durand-Ruel where they gained admiration from famous painters such as Degas, Cézanne, Pissarro and Renoir. Claude Monet and his cathedral campaign took a dominating position in the development and promotion of Impressionism in France and all over the world.

Follow in the footsteps of Claude Monet from the Place de la Cathédrale as far as Giverny, passing via the panorama from Sainte-Catherine’s Hill in Bonsecours or the Impressionist Gallery at the Museum of Fine Arts in Rouen.