Fig. 1. Claude Monet. Unloading Coal. 1875. Oil on Canvas. Musee d’Orsay. Artstor. 2576815.
Monet’s painting, Unloading Coal, is a significant example of industrialisation based on the coal industry. Industrialisation is the time which economic and social change transforms a group of humans into an industrial society, in this case, lower class citizens becoming coal workers that are dependent on machinery. Industries like coal produce CO2 which impacts nature negatively and enhances environmental change due to human dominance. Monet’s painting illustrates a fleet of coal barges from the mines in the north of France. (Mirzoeff 230). Illustrated in the background of the painting is a large man-made bridge. The bridge in the background is significantly larger in scale compared to the factory workers in the foreground. The scale of the bridge symbolises conquest of nature and the dominance of manufactured goods on the environment. The coal workers in the foreground have been painted very loosely with minimal colour, which supports Mirzoeff’s quote, ‘’As individuals they do not matter’’. (Mirzoeff 230). The people walking along the bridge have been painted more precisely and therefore appear more distinct in comparison to the factory workers in the foreground. This contrast symbolises the different working classes at the time; upper class versus lower class. (Mirzoeff 231).
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Mirzoeff, Nicholas. How to See the World. Great Britain: Penguin, 2015. Print.
Monet, Claude. Unloading Coal. 1875. Oil on Canvas. ARTstor. Web. 16 Apr 2016.