Ignore the snobs – Monet is a contender for the greatest artist ever

By Jonathan Jones

A Monet pastel gifted to the Scottish National Gallery shows how powerful the impressionist is – a genius creator of poetic symbolism

Who is the greatest artist of all time? Names like Rembrandt, Michelangelo and Picasso spring to mind. Yet a very strong contender has to be Claude Monet.

That’s right, Monet. The soft and soppy, “chocolate box” impressionist, that painter of picnics and haystacks. Early in 2016, Monet’s water lily decorations revealed their reflective depths in the Royal Academy’s fine exhibition Painting the Modern Garden. The year ends with an early Christmas present for the Scottish National Gallery, which has just unveiled a scintillating pastel by Monet that has been in a Scottish private collection since the 1920s and has now been given to the museum through the Acceptance in Lieu scheme.

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