Claude Monet, the French Impressionist painter, was born on this day in 1840. He is known for his feathery brushstrokes and for the play of light in his paintings. He said that time was a far more important element than plot in any convincing painting. As a modern artist, he was less interested in narrative of the Victorian kind than in capturing the feel of a moment. "One does not paint a landscape, a seascape, a figure," he said, "One paints an impression of an hour of the day."

In 1893, the artist began his series of paintings titled Mornings on the Seine. He was a lover of the dawn who tried to convey its mixture of beauty and elegance. He once said that his paintings are meant to "reveal the instability of the universe transforming itself every moment before our eyes." This is especially evident in the morning.

To Name This Day:

Art & Photography

Visit a museum that has art by Claude Monet on display or go to this website to view selections of his paintings. His poet friend Stephane Mallarme said, "Everything sacred must surround itself with mystery." Where do you sense the mysterious in his art?

Personal Exploration

In honor of Monet's birthday, get up at dawn and experience the coming of the light and the moment-by-moment changes at that hour.