San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk

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San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk
French: Saint-Georges Majeur au Crépuscule, Italian: San Giorgio Maggiore al crepuscolo
Claude Monet, Saint-Georges majeur au crépuscule.jpg
Artist Claude Monet
Year 1908–1912
Type Oil on canvas
Dimensions 65.2 cm × 92.4 cm (25.7 in × 36.4 in)
Location National Museum Cardiff of Cardiff, Wales

Saint-Georges majeur au crépuscule (Eng: Dusk in Venice, San Giorgio Maggiore by Twilight[1] or Sunset in Venice) is an Impressionist painting by Claude Monet completed between 1908 and 1912. It forms part of a series of views of the monastery-island of San Giorgio Maggiore begun in 1908 during his only visit to Venice.

Monet felt Venice was a city "too beautiful to be painted", which may be why he returned with many paintings unfinished to Giverny, his home in France.[2] However, he had already abandoned his earlier practice of painting from life, in front of the subject; instead he worked on the Venetian scenes at home. The death of his wife Alice in 1911 seems to have been a factor in their completion. In 1912 he held a successful exhibition at the gallery Bernheim-Jeune in Paris, where the painting was acquired by the Welsh art collector Gwendoline Davies. She bequeathed it to the Art Gallery (now National Museum Cardiff) in Cardiff, Wales.[1][3]

The piece is a life study view of San Giorgio Maggiore, focusing on the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore, its bell tower, against the small island at sunset. To the right are the faintly visible domes of Santa Maria della Salute and the mouth of the Grand Canal.

Monet in Venice[edit]

This photo separates the campanile and dome of San Giorgio Maggiore, as it is taken from nearer the Grand Canal than the place(s) where Monet's dusk paintings were observed. However, it offers a similar view-point to one of Monet's daytime San Giorgio paintings.[2]

Monet and his wife arrived in Venice in October 1908. They stayed at the Palazzo Barbaro for a couple of weeks, and then moved to the Hotel Britannia, where they stayed until December.[4] According to Mme. Monet the Britannia had a view," if such a thing were possible, even more beautiful than that of Palazzo Barbaro..." Monet painted looking out from the hotel. However, while Palladio's church of San Giorgio Maggiore was visible from there, San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk appears to have been viewed from the waterfront, the Riva degli Schiavoni, where the island forms a focal point of the view.

Monet was unsure of joining his wife on the waterfront out of fear of conforming to other artists who were drawn to Venice, such as Renoir or Manet.[5] San Giorgio Maggiore was a favorite subject for painters, including the proto-Impressionist Turner.[6][7]

He was 68 when he first viewed “these splendid sunsets which are unique in the world.” He had previously been inspired by other sunsets, such as those of Normandy (in Rouen Cathedral and Haystacks, his series of the 1890s) and London (Houses of Parliament). Monet painted San Giorgio Maggiore in six various lighting conditions. With this technique, the paintings focused on the ‘nature of experience.’

San Giorgio Maggiore al Crepuscolo[edit]

San Giorgio Maggiore al Crepuscolo is approximately two-by-three feet and painted in oil on canvas. It depicts mysterious buildings that seem to magically appear from the surrounding landscape, they almost seem to float in the background. The forms are gently inserted, though not enough to disguise their identity.

The painting became familiar in 1999 after its appearance in John McTiernan’s heist film The Thomas Crown Affair. In the film the picture is taken from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In fact, the Metropolitan does not own the painting, although they have another of Monet's Venetian scenes The Doge's Palace Seen from San Giorgio Maggiore.

See also[edit]

Other paintings from the series are to be seen in:

Another version is owned by the Bridgestone Museum of Art in Tokyo.[8]


  1. ^ a b "San Giorgio Maggiore by Twilight". National Museum Wales (Welsh: Amgueddfa Cymru). Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c The Church of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice, Indianapolis Museum of Art.
  3. ^ Williams, Sally (2010). "The Duck Pond That Grew into a 'French' Lake; How Did Claude Monet's Famous Paintings of Water Lilies Inspire Wales' Greatest Art-Collecting Sisters?". Western Mail.  Retrieved 2014 via HighBeam Research (subscription required).
  4. ^ The hotel's name has since changed to the Hotel Europa and Regina.[1]
  5. ^ Manet. Ritorno a Venezia. Musée d'Orsay
  6. ^ Venice: San Giorgio Maggiore - Early Morning 1819
  7. ^ Venice: San Giorgio Maggiore at Sunset, from the Hotel Europa 1840. Tate
  8. ^ "Twilight, Venice". Bridgestone Museum of Art. Retrieved 2 February 2014. 
  • Brownjohn, John and Stephan Koja and Galerie Osterreichische, Claude Monet. New York: Prestel, 1996.
  • Koja, Stephan and Katja Miksovsky, Claude Monet: the Magician of Colour. New York: Prestel, 1997.
  • National Museum Wales, "San Giorgio Maggiore by Twilight Breaking Dawn," [2].
  • Newcomb, Molly. "San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk: Claude Monet." (2 April 2012)
  • Pissarro, Joachim. Monet and the Mediterranean, New York: Rizzoli, 1997.
  • Tucker, Paul Hayes and George T.M. Shackleford and Mary Anne Stevens, Monet in the 20th Century. New Haven: Museum of Fine Arts, 1998.

External links[edit]

The Davies Sisters Collection