Monet And His Cathedrals Monet And His Cathedrals
©Monet And His Cathedrals

The Cathedrals series

Relive Claude Monet’s time in Rouen.
It’s hard to walk past the Cathedral without thinking of the most famous impressionist painter who turned it into an artistic icon!


Claude Monet in Rouen

The Master of the Cathedral

During the springs of 1892 and 1893, Claude Monet decided to follow up on the Meules and Poplars series, devoting a new series of paintings to the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Rouen. This is his most ambitious project with a set of twenty-eight canvases taking the western facade of the Notre-Dame Cathedralas his model. Monet attempted to capture the immediacy by observing the same model under the effect of various lighting and at different times of the day. Claude Monet in Rouen painted up to fourteen versions at a time, switching from one painting to another according to the variations in light according to the time of day.

The first paintings of the Cathedral were painted in February 1892 and depict the courtyard of the Albane. These are the only paintings done in the open air.

The Finance Office

An exceptional viewpoint

He then moved to the Cathedral Square, where he works on the western façade from three different vantage points. In particular, he set up shop on the second floor of the Finance Office, a lingerie store in Monet’s day. Today, this monument is the tourist information office of Rouen Tourism (currently under construction for renovation).

It is from this building, where the view of the stone lace of the Cathedral is incomparable, that the artist painted his Cathedralsmost luminous and colorful. He himself speaks of red and golden motifs.

The Cathedrals of Rouen

Masterpieces of Impressionism

It was not until after he had completed his Cathedrals, that Claude Monet entered the monument for the first time. He completed the paintings from both campaigns in his studio in Giverny and then postdated them to 1894.

Twenty of these canvases were shown in 1895 at the famous art dealer Durand-Ruel, where they were admired by famous painters such as Degas, Cézanne, Pissarro and Renoir. Claude Monet and his Cathedrals campaign take a prominent place in the development and promotion of Impressionism in France and around the world.

Today, the thirty paintings are scattered throughout the world, contributing to the worldwide fame of the Cathedral of the Norman capital. Seven Cathedrals are preserved in France, including one at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Rouen, which was donated by a local patron as a gift to the city as early as 1909.

Take a walk in Claude Monet’s footsteps from the Cathedral square to Givernythrough the panorama of the Colline Sainte-Catherine in Bonsecours, where he made a general view of the city. Not to mention the impressionist gallery at the Rouen Museum of Fine Arts, which exhibits several of his works.