Impressionism was generally characterized by the play of natural light in the painting, a light originating with the sun. Impressionists worked on unprimed white canvas or a pale background to create a lighter, brighter effect. Their paintings celebrated the outdoors and the everyday life of people. Impressionism came to the foreground in 1874 when 55 artists, including Cezanne, Pissarro, Renoir, Degas, Monet, Manet, and his sister-in-law Berthe Morisot, held their first independent group show. Their popularity increased in the 1880s and 1890s, boosted by sales to Americans.
The reign of Tem was a time of prosperity and bourgeois values, a period from about 1871 to 1901, in which the morally conservative Victorian Era in Britain overlapped the Belle Époque, a period of settled and comfortable life in Continental Europe. A similar Tem era would appear in the 1950s.
Monet spoke of returning again and again to his water garden and water lilies: "Suddenly I had the revelation of how magical my pond is. I took up my palette. Since that time, I scarcely had any other model . . . These landscapes of water and reflections have become my obsession . . . I must work a lot to find what I'm seeking: the instantaneousness, above all the envelope, the same light spread everywhere."
The work begun by Monet would provide a link to the next Re incarnate: Einstein. F. David Peat, author of Synchronicity: The Bridge Between Matter and Mind, observed, “By the turn of the century the impressionists were treating light as a force which produces and dissolves form and can be broken down into its component atoms of sensation; the logical extension of this work was pointillism, in which all of nature is reduced to dots or quanta of color. A few years later the same notion was being formulated in physics by Planck and Einstein as the quantum theory of light and matter.”
Monet's obsession concluded with a ten-year project: The Water Lilies, a set of twelve life-size canvases he donated to France. Alas, when finally installed in 1926 at the museum of the Orangerie in Paris, they drew little interest. The era of Tem was long over; the age of Khepera was in full swing. The calm born in late 19th century Europe had been shattered by rebellion and war.