b. 1840, Paris; d. 1926, Giverny
Claude Monet began drawing when he was a small boy, and received his first art lessons from a local marine painter. Against his family's wishes, he left for Paris in 1862, where he became a leading artist of the Impressionists (in fact, the movement was named after Monet's painting; Impression: Sunrise).
Dubbed "The painter of light" Monet was fascinated with capturing the vibrations of light and the quivering of atmosphere. He painted in a series of short, light strokes ("tongue lickings" one critic called them) to quickly capture the changing nature of light. He rarely used gray or black in his paintings, preferring instead to indicate shadows with unusual juxtapositions of color, like blue and orange side by side. Monet often painted a series, by painting the same subject (a cathedral, haystacks, etc.) many times to capture the different effects of sunlight and the seasons.