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Astronomers Claim They’ve Pinned Down The Exact Moment Captured By Monet’s ‘Etretat: Sunset’
January 24, 2014
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White House at Night

Researchers at Texas State University believe they have figured out the exact time and date captured by Claude Monet’s "Etretat: Sunset."

The team, led by astronomer Don Olson, published their findings in February’s Sky and Telescope Magazine.

Monet’s painting depicts a low sunset perched behind a distinctive rock face in Normandy, France. "Sunset" was one of a series of works produced by the French Impressionist over a three-week visit to the region in 1883.

The researchers arrived at their conclusion by examining a number of variables, including the dates of Monet’s Normandy trip, the vantage point from which the canvas was painted and astronomical calculations of the sun’s path through the sky. To pinpoint the exact location Monet would have stood to create the painting, they travelled to the area and used postcard-sized versions of the painting to match the perspectives. 

After narrowing down the window of the painting’s creation to sometime between February 3 and February 7, 1883, the research team used clues from Monet’s own letters and records of the tides to identify the exact date and time "Sunset" likely depicts: February 5, 1883 at 4:53 in the afternoon.

This is not the first art history puzzle that Olson and his team have tackled. Check out the gallery above for a few other works they've investigated.

Via The Verge


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