Artist Defines Genre, but Genre Cannot Define Artist

Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso are one of the most famous artists in the Modern period. Their artworks are also one of the most representative pieces for some genres: Impressionism and Surrealism. Although Claude Monet is famous for Impressionism, and Pablo Picasso is one of the beginners doing Cubism, however, they do not only draw the paintings they are famous for. For example, Monet has Sunrise and Jerusalem Artichoke Flowers. Sunrise is a typical impressionistic work, while Jerusalem Artichoke Flowers is more like a realistic art piece. At the same time, Picasso draws many versions of Guitar. Some versions are pretty cubistic, but some others are very surrealistic.

These comparisons indicate that every artist might have tried several styles and genres to express their ideas in their life. It is not appropriate to simply say that Monet is an impressionistic artist. According to the study of semiotics, there should be some pattern or prototype among the works for each artist. Adam mentions that the use of colored shadow and reflection is Monet’s expertise. In this case, no matter which genre Monet’s art pieces belong to, the shadow and reflection are the prototypes of Claude Monet’s artwork.


For the series of Guitar, Picasso does not only try it on two-dimensional work. He also makes sculptures of guitar, which is a three-dimensional piece, becoming one of the pioneers of Cubism. In some words, Picasso also changes the medium of expressing art: any material besides paper and canvas can also be used as the medium reflecting the artist’s idea.

Indeed, the Modern period has never had been defined before Monet, Picasso and other artists shaping it. The development of every genre is actually a fusion process of many artists’ attempts and personal styles.