Monet’s Life Inspires the Master’s Pupil: A Hand-Painted Video Game That Took 7 Years to Finish

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Renowned video game designer Pat Naoum has spent an impressive seven years meticulously crafting The Master’s Pupil, a unique gaming experience that delves into the life and artistry of Claude Monet. Inspired by Monet’s biography, including his struggles with cataracts and subsequent loss of vision, the game offers players a chance to step into the legendary artist’s world.

In The Master’s Pupil, players are transported into Monet’s eye, assuming the role of an amorphous figure. This character jumps through the enchanting tendrils of a jungle, paying homage to Monet’s deep reverence for nature as the Father of Impressionism. As players progress through a series of puzzles, their skills and perseverance are put to the test while time rapidly slips away, mirroring the progressive nature of cataracts that threatened Monet’s eyesight. By successfully solving these puzzles, players assist Monet in completing some of his most iconic works, allowing them to experience the creative process firsthand.

Naoum, who donned his artist’s hat during this ambitious project, strived not only to create engaging gameplay but also to capture the essence of Monet’s artistry. Over the course of seven years, the game developer meticulously perfected the Monet-esque atmosphere, staying true to the Impressionist artist’s love for nature, plein air painting, and vibrant color palettes. The game’s visuals were created by hand-painting real artworks on paper and then importing them into the digital world to be processed as part of the gaming experience.

Naoum’s dedication to capturing the visual aesthetic of Monet’s works and life ensured that The Master’s Pupil became an immersive journey through the renowned artist’s world. Utilizing 3D techniques, Naoum brought to life the iconic brushstrokes and delicate dots seen in many of Monet’s works. The game also features recognizable landscapes that serve as backdrops, further immersing players in the scenery of Monet’s paintings. To complement the visuals, indie composer Steven W. Schouten contributed a rich soundscape that enhances players’ understanding of Monet’s life and artistic process.

The Master’s Pupil challenges players to confront the obstacles Monet faced throughout his life, including the loss of his beloved wife, Camille, and the profound impact of cataracts on his artistic abilities. By guiding the amorphous character through these challenges, players become intimately connected with Monet’s perseverance and determination. Just as the artist himself refused to undergo cataract surgery, the players must remain vigilant and make strategic choices throughout the game. One wrong move or color combination can end their journey in The Master’s Pupil and signify the disease taking hold of Monet’s eyesight.

The game comprises twelve meticulously crafted levels, each designed with intricate visual details that gamify various aspects of Monet’s life and works. Players encounter tasks that exist on both a physical and spatial level, such as color combination puzzles, flowing drafts, breakable crystals, physics-based balls, and even fragments of actual paintings. Naoum intentionally removed time constraints in solving each puzzle, allowing players to take their time, akin to artists who dedicate hours to perfecting their art.

Naoum advises players to “think like an artist” as they navigate the game, mixing colors to complete tasks and embracing physicality when necessary to help complete Monet’s works. Beyond the gameplay and challenges, The Master’s Pupil serves as an educational medium, inviting players to explore and appreciate the lasting impact Claude Monet left on the art world.

Pat Naoum’s dedication to detail and his passion for capturing the essence of Claude Monet’s artistry and life shine through in The Master’s Pupil. This extraordinary video game offers both entertainment and education, honoring the legacy of one of history’s most iconic artists.

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