Rare 100-Year-Old Films Capture Monet, Degas And Renoir At Work

Also, how good are all the beards involved?

Have you ever closed your eyes, clasped your hands and prayed to the almighty powers of art to transport you back in time to see your favorite creators in action?

Have you, say, wished for the power to witness Claude Monet breathing in that fresh Giverny air, puttering around the studio, wondering whether to paint water lilies or some other kind of lilies? Or what about Degas, strolling down the street with incredible sideburns and a classy umbrella-cane? Or perhaps Rodin, applying some finishing touches to his sculptural masterpieces in a floppy beret? 

If these very particular desires ring true, your prayers have been answered.  

1. Claude Monet

In the film below, dating back to 1915, you'll see old man Monet in the zone, donning a bushy beard, crisp white suit (to paint? Really, Claude?) and wide-brimmed hat. Monet, 74 at the time, is joined by a tiny fluffy dog, adding to what already seems to be the best art studio setup in history. 

Beard game: 8.9

2. Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Here, we take a glimpse into the life of Pierre-Auguste Renoir, also 74 years old in the 1915 film. Renoir, however, seems far older than his contemporary Monet, unable to walk and grappling with contorted hands, a result of rheumatism. In the film below, Renoir's son Claude helps him grasp the paintbrush as he gets to work despite his physical impediments. 

Beard game: 6.7

3. Auguste Rodin

Here we have the man behind "The Thinker," Mr. Rodin at 75, sculpting away at the Hotel Biron. Although he would die two years later, the artist appears buoyant at work, chipping away at a variety of three-dimensional forms in a proto-Kangol cap and ombre-dipped beard. 

Beard game: 8.2

4. Edgar Degas

In the final film, we see Degas out of the ballet studio and strolling around town at a cool 81 years old. Rocking a steampunk look with a bowler hat, frizzy sideburns and an umbrella-cum-cane, you can see the aesthetic sensibility oozing from his every step. 

Beard game: 7.8

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