Manet vs. Monet

What's the Difference?

Manet and Monet were both influential French painters of the 19th century, but their artistic styles and subject matters differed significantly. Édouard Manet is often considered the father of modern art, known for his realistic and bold approach. His paintings often depicted contemporary life, challenging traditional artistic conventions. On the other hand, Claude Monet was a leading figure of the Impressionist movement, focusing on capturing the fleeting effects of light and atmosphere in his works. Monet's paintings were characterized by loose brushstrokes and vibrant colors, often depicting landscapes and natural scenes. While Manet's art was more confrontational and socially critical, Monet's works aimed to evoke emotions and sensations through his unique interpretation of nature. Despite their differences, both artists made significant contributions to the art world and continue to be celebrated for their distinct styles.


Full NameÉdouard ManetClaude Monet
Birth Year18321840
Death Year18831926
Art MovementRealism, ImpressionismImpressionism
Famous WorksOlympia, Luncheon on the GrassWater Lilies, Impression, Sunrise
Influenced ByDiego Velázquez, Francisco GoyaEugène Boudin, Johan Barthold Jongkind
Subject MatterPortraits, everyday life, social commentaryLandscape, nature, water, gardens

Further Detail


When discussing the Impressionist movement, two names that often come to mind are Édouard Manet and Claude Monet. While their surnames may sound similar, these two artists had distinct styles and approaches to their work. In this article, we will explore the attributes of Manet and Monet, highlighting their similarities and differences in terms of subject matter, technique, and artistic philosophy.

Subject Matter

Manet and Monet both found inspiration in the world around them, but their subject matter differed significantly. Manet was known for his urban scenes and portraits, often depicting the bourgeoisie and contemporary life in Paris. His paintings, such as "Olympia" and "A Bar at the Folies-Bergère," challenged traditional artistic conventions and explored social and political themes.

On the other hand, Monet focused more on landscapes and natural scenes. His series of paintings featuring water lilies, haystacks, and the Rouen Cathedral are iconic examples of his dedication to capturing the changing effects of light and atmosphere. Monet's works often conveyed a sense of tranquility and harmony with nature.


While both Manet and Monet were associated with the Impressionist movement, their techniques varied. Manet's brushwork was more controlled and precise, reflecting his academic training. He paid careful attention to details and often used bold, contrasting colors to create a sense of depth and volume in his compositions.

Monet, on the other hand, employed a looser and more spontaneous brushwork. He sought to capture the fleeting impressions of a scene, using short, broken brushstrokes to convey the play of light and color. Monet's technique, often described as "plein air" painting, aimed to capture the essence of a moment rather than focusing on intricate details.

Color Palette

Color played a crucial role in the works of both Manet and Monet, but their approaches to color differed. Manet's palette was more restrained and grounded in realism. He used a range of muted tones and subtle variations to create a sense of depth and atmosphere in his paintings. His use of black, in particular, was notable, as it added a certain richness and intensity to his compositions.

Monet, on the other hand, embraced a brighter and more vibrant color palette. His paintings were characterized by the use of pure, unmixed colors, applied in small strokes to create an optical blending effect. Monet's color choices were often influenced by the changing light and atmospheric conditions, resulting in a more ethereal and dreamlike quality to his works.

Artistic Philosophy

Manet and Monet had different artistic philosophies that shaped their approach to painting. Manet, as a Realist painter, aimed to depict contemporary life as it was, often challenging the established norms and conventions of the art world. He sought to capture the essence of modernity and provoke a reaction from the viewer through his bold and sometimes controversial subject matter.

Monet, on the other hand, was more interested in capturing the fleeting and transient aspects of nature. He believed that art should evoke an emotional response and convey the artist's personal experience of the world. Monet's focus on light, color, and atmosphere aimed to transport the viewer into a moment of pure sensory perception.


Both Manet and Monet made significant contributions to the art world and left a lasting legacy. Manet's bold and innovative approach paved the way for the development of modern art movements such as Fauvism and Cubism. His willingness to challenge artistic conventions and explore new subject matter influenced generations of artists to come.

Monet, on the other hand, is often regarded as one of the pioneers of Impressionism. His dedication to capturing the effects of light and atmosphere revolutionized the way artists approached landscape painting. Monet's emphasis on the subjective experience of nature laid the foundation for later movements such as Abstract Expressionism.


While Manet and Monet were both influential figures in the Impressionist movement, their artistic attributes set them apart. Manet's focus on urban scenes and his precise technique challenged artistic conventions, while Monet's dedication to capturing the fleeting effects of light and his looser brushwork revolutionized landscape painting. Despite their differences, both artists made significant contributions to the art world and continue to inspire and captivate audiences to this day.

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