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.
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.
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.
One day, I need to get here…
For more information and photos, see the following web sites:
trip advisor.com http://goo.gl/ByDgU6