I can’t even tell how many happy hours I spent in various museums near the Rouen Cathedral by Claude Monet. In National Gallery in Washington, in Musee d’Orsay, in Paris Marmottan museum, in Pushkin Fine Arts Museum in Moscow when I was a teenager fascinated with his light and sun and shadows, pastel tones and vibrant morning splashes, fading sunset colors and melting forms, anticipating, guessing, feeling, flying…
Monet loved to immerse himself in series of enamored subjects. It could be a Rouen Cathedral which was immortalized by the artist in 30 paintings , a tantalizing task to catch the ever-changing daylight bit by bit. Or endless variations of water lilies in Giverny, from tiny sketches to huge canvases.
Therefore many renowned museums throughout the world can proudly exhibit in their collections one or more of his Cathedrals painted in Rouen in 1892-1894.Before France grew to love Impressionists many of their masterpieces unaccepted by the contemporaries were acquired by visionary collectors in States and progressive connoisseurs in Russia at the dawn of 20th century and brought the artists success, fame and recognition.
There’s no other building in the world which had the same honor of being painted so many times by the Master. Even Notre Dame de Paris can’t compete. There are so many other beautiful cathedrals in France sort of very well known but kind of little bit put aside by the history and locations.
This won’t be ever the fate of Rouen Cathedral the genuine masterpiece of gothic architecture.
Being the main Cathedral in the capital city of Normandy since the 12th century it had such a tumultuous history of construction and reconstructions, fires, destructions, looting, lightnings and burnings, devastating bombing during the WWII which caused unforgivable damages, relatively recent natural disaster and never stopped restoration since.
And it’s proud spire still points to the sky, beautiful rose windows grace the facades. Magnificent structure!
Always wanted to see it once for myself and last August we made a day trip from Paris.
I’ll show you the medieval and quiet city of Rouen in the next posts meanwhile enjoy the architectural details and stone carving, masonry and grandeur of the Cathedral admired by Claude Monet 120 years ago.
Have a wonderful weekend my friends.
See you soon.
*All images (except C.Monet's paintings) copyright Natalie Rapoport