Woman in a green dress - by Claude Monet

Gustave Courbet had been on influence on Monet, and the older artist had visited him at his Paris studio while he was pointing The Picnic. On seeing that the giant work would never be completed in time for the 1866 Salon, Courbet urged Monet to paint something 'quickly and well, in a single go,' so he would have something to submit.

Accordingly Monet painted Comille, a dazzling figurative pointing of his lover Camille Doncieux, who would become the first Mrs Monet, The work was allegedly done in a mere four days and was well received by the critics, being described as, 'the Parision queen, the triumphant woman' in the magazine L'Artiste. It represents the epitome of o fashionable, avant-garde woman.

Most striking was Monet's combination of traditional approach and modern subject in the painting. His treatment of the fabrics - the silk with its hint of stiffness and gleaming colours and the warm, organic fur - recoiled the portraiture of Old Masters, amplified by the dark tonal treatment. Yet Camille herself is contemporary and convincingly real, an icon of modern womanhood.