Charing Cross Bridge, London
Claude Monet, c. 1900
Content and Context
Depicting Monet's view of the River Thames and the Charing Cross railway bridge from atop a hotel balcony, this painting is one of a series in Monet's study of light and climate. Monet's brushstrokes emphasize the fleeting nature of the light, capturing London's blue mist in an ephemeral moment.
With the Impressionist movement already underway, the series that this painting belongs to is indicative of a change in Monet's artwork; earlier themes - such as that of industrialization in his Gare St. Lazare, which depicts a busy, urban landscape - are replaced by quieter settings, less affected by the presence of man.
Typical of an Impressionist painter, Monet makes use of pronounced brushstrokes and unfocused colours. Like many Impressionist paintings, this work depicts an outdoor, ordinary subject matter.
In October 2012 at approximately 3:00 AM, this work was stolen from Kunsthal Museum in Rotterdam along with six other works, including that of Picasso, Matisse, and Gauguin, valued to be worth over $24 million. Security cameras captured a group of thieves entering and leaving with the stolen paintings via a back entrance. The thieves tripped the museum's alarm, but managed to escape before the arrival of police.
About a year after the theft, two members of a Romanian gang, Radu Dogaru and Eugen Darie, admitted to the theft. After pleading guilty, they were sentenced to 6 years and 8 months in prison.
The fate of the artworks, however, is still unclear. Dogaru's mother initially claimed to have destroyed several of the stolen paintings after worrying that the evidence may incriminate her son; however, she later denied such a claim. It is theorized that the paintings were either burned or cut and hacked apart by Dogaru's mother.