Claude Monet’s Garden at Giverny
Impressionism was all about leaving the studio and painting in the sunlight. And that’s why the greatest Impressionist, Claude Monet, designed his dreamy garden at Giverny to be his airy, sunlight-filled studio.
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Mid-way between Rouen and Paris — about an hour’s drive away — is Giverny. Claude Monet, the father of the Impressionist movement, spent his last 40 years here finding inspiration in these gardens.
The colors of his cottage garden are like his brushstrokes — they seem untamed and slap-dash, but are part of a carefully composed mosaic. He diverted a stream, made a pond, filled it with water lilies and built a footbridge which eventually became overgrown with wisteria.
Museums in Paris bloom with Monet’s garden paintings. Impressionism was a revolutionary movement in European art — the rage in the 1870s. Many artists abandoned realism in favor of this innovative style which captured light, glimmers, and reflections.
Impressionist art evokes the subtlties of nature. The artist — using short brushstrokes of different colors placed side by side — suggests shimmering light. The true subject is not really the lilies, but the changing reflections on the surface of the pond. As he grew older, Monet cropped the scene ever closer, until there was no shoreline, no horizon, no sense of what’s up or down.