Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Art History and Visual Culture



First Advisor

Esperança Camara

Second Advisor

Trenton Olsen

Third Advisor

James Hutson


Claude Monet visited Bordighera, the coastal town on the Italian Riviera, in 1884. This paper argues how, in Bordighera, Monet pursued a more immersive experience with nature than ever before. Monet first visited Bordighera late in 1883 with Renoir; he then went back in 1884 for a second and last trip, this time on his own. He stayed almost three months and painted 38 canvases; this paper focuses on four canvases that help illustrate Monet's depiction of nature and its transition from wide open views to close-up views that convey an immersive experience. Monet began his painting sessions on bristling hilly spots where he could capture views of Bordighera Alta overlooking the sea; he then moved to the sort of outdoor studio the Moreno Gardens offered, where he could paint intimate views of olive and lemon groves. In Bordighera, vegetation - which was exotic to the eyes of a man who had never painted the Mediterranean before - became more and more the sole subject in Monet's paintings, with the sky receding to give way to a tangle of trunks, foliage, and fruits. The colors are more vivid, the brushstrokes more consistent than ever before in his oeuvre. The results Monet achieves in Bordighera are the climax of his approach to nature, which, over two decades, had seen him go from realistic, geometric, or symmetrical compositions to a complete surrender to wilderness. As Monet worked toward the perfect impression en plein air, he painted the same subjects multiple times, initially unsure whether he was properly capturing the essence of Bordighera. These repetitions, which may be seen as both trials and final products, result in seriality, which, as noted by Joachim Pissarro, Monet invents in Bordighera.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License