Monet, Water-Lilies

The Water-Lilies Day Thread (December 1, 2022)

“One instant, one aspect of nature contains it all,”

The National Gallery in London is one tourist attraction I would heartily recommend to visitors to the United Kingdom’s capital.

Like all art galleries you’re not going to find every painting interesting, let alone “speaking” to you; upon initial entry you can be greeted with room upon room of portraits of rich white men of antiquity. Even the Flemish masters of Yore can make their contemporary versions of Elon Musk at all interesting, no matter how clever their brushstrokes. On the bright side, they do have the pleasant effect of making the Rembrandts, when you get to them, even more spectacular.

The highlight of my visit however, was one of the impressionist Claude Monet’s late masterpieces, a large scale painting of water lilies at his home garden in Giverny between 1897 and his death in 1926. In amongst the 250 paintings he created during this time, he also envisioned a circular installation of vast paintings – “grandes décorations” – that would surround you like a turn-of-last-century IMAX screen. Monet reworked his paintings over and over, destroying any he felt didn’t live up to his standards.

Examples of Monet’s Water-Lilies are exhibited worldwide; Paris, New York, Chicago, Cairo, Tokyo and Kanagawa to name a few. If you’re able to visit one of his grandes décorations – the National Gallery’s painting is four metres in length by two metres in height – I strongly recommend it. They’re images you’re truly able to get lost in.

Monet's water-lilies

What art speaks to you?

Have a great Thursday and please take care of yourselves, everyone!