Monet’s utopian vision
Utopianism and socialism can be deduced, argues Jonathan Jones in The Guardian, from a visit to the new show on Monet and architecture at the National Gallery in London. Cynics may think that this is just another excuse to repackage one of the world’s most popular, and ticket-selling, artists, but Jones believes that there is a strong underlying narrative.
Although he describes the show as ‘a ludicrously pleasurable holiday in Monet’s senses’, he argues that the show informs us ‘that he shares the moral vision of Ruskin: that he dreams of a quasi-socialist middle ages whose lost paradise can still be glimpsed in the sombre stones of old churches.’ And his paintings of Paris, he says, do not celebrate the urban bustle but show it as somehow hellish. Paintings like The Coal Heavers (seen here) display Monet as a ‘critic of capitalism’.
It is interesting to think how the portrayal of buildings in 21st Century art would display the creator’s view of the world.