M is for . . .


April 15, 2014 by Ray Yanek


Monet’s House and Gardens

My daughter is on a school field trip to the Art Institute of Chicago, which houses a large collection of Monet’s art.  The fact that she’s probably looking at those painting as I type this and based on his sheer popularity, Monet seemed the obvious choice for “M”.  But it was his popularity that also made me pause a bit and rethink my decision.  Everyone knows and recognizes Water Lillies, the Haystack paintings, etc.so I thought rather then focus on the paintings I would focus on Monet’s inspiration for the paintings.

That inspiration, of course, was Monet’s house and gardens at Giverny in Northern France.

Monet often painted the same subject and the same scene over and over.  He painted those landscapes during different seasons, during different times of the day, and during different weather conditions so that he could study the different lighting.  His famous Water Lilly paintings, for example, aren’t so much about the lilies themselves, but rather on the changing reflections on the water.  His dedication to the craft always amazed me and inspired me.  Once I began to see the actual places he was painting though, I’m sure Monet had another  reason for returning to those same places–they were stunningly beautiful and quite peaceful, I’m sure.

Take a look– see if you recognize anything…water lillies

According to Rick Steves, Monet was somewhat original during his time because he enjoyed venturing out into the real world to find his subjects rather than painting strictly in a controlled studio.  Monet often ventured out into the French countryside to paint everyday things.

During one of his trips, Money spotted Giverny through the window of a train on which he traveled.  Located 50 miles north of Paris, Giverny called to him and he soon returned with his family.

Monet's House at Giverny  Source: Trip Advisor.com ( http://goo.gl/ByDgU6 )

Monet’s House at Giverny
Source: Trip Advisor.com ( http://goo.gl/ByDgU6 )

He bought a farmhouse and soon began creating the famous gardens,   Steves writes:  “In 1890, Monet started renovating his garden, inspired by tranquil scenes from

the Japanese prints he collected. He diverted a river to form a pond, planted willows and bamboo on the shores, filled the pond with water lilies, then crossed it with a wooden footbridge. As years passed, the bridge became overgrown with wisteria. He painted it at different times of day and year, exploring different color schemes” (Rick Steves’s Europe).

Monet would spend the next 40 years at Giverny and I don’t think there is any reason to question why.

bridge orgTry to imagine the scents, the feel of the air, the sound of the water, and the peace in the air…

One day, I need to get here…


For more information and photos, see the following web sites:




trip advisor.com  http://goo.gl/ByDgU6



4 thoughts on “M is for . . .

  1. P Liegl says:

    I swear that I could smell lilacs. (They were probably another Marvelous flower, but they reminded me of the lilacs that may eventually bloom in my yard if winter ever passes.)
    Monet’s work reminds that spring will soon arrive.

  2. helenrj says:

    I traveled to Monet’s gardens through your words. Very beautifully written. I’m a helper with A to Z Support team. Your blog looks great. Full of wonder.

  3. jenbr323 says:

    I agree, I need to get there too. Thanks Ray!

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