Entries Categorized as 'Monet Painting'
February 22, 2010
The Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco surprises French visitors by the words written on the pediment of the main entrance : Honneur et Patrie. Surprises continue with its beautiful collection of European art including five gorgeous Monets.
The biggest one faces visitors at the end of a perspective through several large rooms. It deserves this honor. This enormous canvas of Monet’s late period, painted during World War One, is certainly one of the most splendid masterpieces of the museum.
Monet focuses on two patches of water lilies floating on the pond in his garden at Giverny. Unlike many of the paintings in this series, this canvas is very bright. Vibrant reds and pinks pop out the flowers, contrasting with the soft greens of the lily pads and the pale blue of the reflected sky. Curiously enough, a cotton like cloud occupies the upper corner of the painting, when it should be reflected at the lower part of the canvas. It is one of Monet’s favorite game to mix all the landmarks to create confusion in the eyes of the viewer.
September 12, 2008
Claude Monet had calculated that the light changes every seven minutes in Giverny. I wonder if he didn’t exagerate a little bit, but he had an exceptional eye and he wanted to render the slightest light changes exactly.
Monet painted in series. He chose a spot he liked in his garden, a special framing of his pond, and he painted it over and over again.
That is to say he had several canvases on work, sometimes ten, sometimes up to twenty. He gave a few brushstrokes on one, then he noticed that the light was changing. He would look among the unfinished canvases to find the one corresponding to this very light effect. He put it on the easel, went on with it for a few minutes. Eventually the light would change again, and Monet accordingly changed the canvas on the easel. And so on.
It was a slow process: Monet had to wait until the same light effect would come back to complete the canvas. Impressionist painters don’t imagine nor remember, they paint what they can see, the impression of the moment.
It is a challenge to paint a moment, for it takes many hours of hard work to paint a landscape. With many canvases on work at the same time, it could last monthes or even years before all of them were considered finished.
September 11, 2008
Claude Monet made his garden famous by painting it over and over again. There are 272 canvases by Monet featuring his water garden, not to speak about the Grandes Decorations, these oversized panels that can be seen at l’Orangerie Museum in Paris.
Monet didn’t want any other motive for almost twenty years. He was in his seventies and eighties and didn’t feel like travelling for long painting campaigns anymore.
In addition there was war, the first World War from 1914 through 1918. Monet preferred to stay in his garden to paint. Here he found all the inspiration he needed.
Monet painted his pond or his bridge repeatedly, because for him there were never the same. What he wanted to render was not especially a flower or a bridge, but the light on them, the air that wraps them. And the light changes all the time.
July 21, 2008
When Claude Monet was 70 he conceived a crazy project: huge panels featuring his pond to be glued on the walls of a big oval room.
Somebody standing in the middle of this room would be surrounded by his relaxing work.
It took him ten years to achieve his aim. He had to build a new studio for these over-sized paintings, he became almost blind because of cataract, but he managed to paint 91meter long canvases (almost 300 feet long). They are two meter high, as high as Monet could paint when he stood. Two rooms were eventually necessary to accommodate them.
The Grandes Decorations can be seen in l’Orangerie Museum in Paris on the Place de la Concorde, opposite to Musée d’Orsay. They won’t travel ever, they cannot be dismounted. The museum has just been renovated for six years and these extremely valuable paintings didn’t move while the ceiling of their rooms were opened and transformed.
A last amazing detail about these amazing murals: Monet donated them to the French state to celebrate the victory of 1918. He donated a ten year work!