Roy Lichtenstein, an eminent figure of the Pop Art movement, created his Cathedral series in 1969. The artist was prompted by a photograph of Claude Monet’s 1894 series of oil paintings of a historic monument in Rouen, France.
Monet repeatedly responded to a single theme in his series of paintings and captured actual light being reflected on the surface of the facade of Rouen Cathedral. He painted the cathedral at various points of the day, in order to illustrate the transience of time.
The lineup of the prints in Lichtenstein’s Cathedral series is like sheets rolling off an assembly line or proofs from a printing press. Lichtenstein first and foremost reflects on the realities of mass reproduction in his versions of the historic monument. That being said, a varying colour scheme alludes to daytime and nighttime in Lichtenstein’s Cathedral series. Additionally, his trademark use of Ben Day dots feels like a close successor to Monet’s impressionist brushwork.
Cathedral 4 is composed of dark magenta coloured interlocking Ben Day dots, presenting a crisp and clear image of the church if regarded by the observer from afar. Similar to Cathedral 3, however, the work demands close scrutiny of the painterly gesture when considered up close.