Woman with a Parasol – Madame Monet and Her Son by Claude Monet
Woman with a Parasol – Madame Monet and Her Son, also known as “The Stroll”, was painted by Claude Monet in 1875 during his family life in the idyllic Argenteuil, a village northwest of Paris. The oil-on-canvas work was done outdoors when his wife Camille, then 28 years old, and his eldest son Jean, seven, took a stroll in the summer meadow. The artist low viewpoint is quite unusual, down looking up, and the woman and her child look at him from the top of the hill. Such a perspective gives the subjects nearly an iconic perception. The viewer receives the impression of a light and momentary intrusion into the life of Madame Monet and her son: They stopped as their rural stroll is suddenly interrupted. The beautiful and relaxing moment of their life became shared with others, invisible to them. The viewer can almost feel the embraces of the hot summer wind and smell the heavy spicy aroma of the thick green grass and wildflowers that hide Madame’s Monet’s shoes and the boy’s legs. The parasol, or the sun umbrella, is a symbol of wealth and status, and the sunny and cloudy sky enswathe the viewer with delicate peace and the uniqueness of the captured motion. The artwork was shown at the second Impressionist exhibition in Paris in 1876 and received positive appraisals for its spontaneity and naturalness. The American philanthropist, Paul Mellon and his wife, Bunny Mellon, bought the painting in 1965 and donated it to the National Gallery of Art in Washington in 1983.