Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Monet's Garden at Giverny and Video

Claude Monet (1840-1926), photo by Félix Nadar,1899.

Claude Monet's garden at Giverny, France lives on, inspiring and delighting many who visit. Monet shaped his garden and assigned every plant its place, planning and ordering, laying out beds and borders according to varieties and colors.

Giverny, where Monet spent the second half of his life, became his passion, his refuge, his world. "Wherever he travelled, he always asked after his flowers in letters home. The garden on sunny days was very life to him, and when it rained he withdrew to bed, depressed.[1]"

The following are excerpts from an eyewitness account, written during Monet's lifetime, by Arsène Alexandre (1859-1937), critic, art historian and collector, writing for Le Figaro, dated August 9, 1901:

" Everywhere you turn, at your feet, over your head, at chest height, are pools, festoons, hedges of flowers, their harmonies at once spontaneous and designed and renewed at every season.

. . . . . . He also wants, perhaps above all, his flower palette before him to look at all year around, always present, but always changing. Everything is designed in such a way that the celebration is everywhere renewed and ceaselessly replaced. If a certain flower bed is stilled in a certain season, borders and hedges will suddenly light up. The other day, what dominated--or at least most charmed one's gaze--were the broad but subtle harmonies of yellows and violets.

This last helps to describe the master's creation; the effect is explosive and joyful, and every effect is planned.

Photo of Claude Monet's Water Lily Pond and Japanese Bridge, Giverny, France. From Wikimedia Commons.

There is also a second garden . . . . . . This is the famous water lily garden, with its little green Japanese bridge spanning the ornamental lake surrounded by willows and other trees, either fancifully shaped or rare. When the sunlight plays upon the water, it resembles--damascened as it is with the water lilies' great round leaves, and encrusted with the precious stones of their flowers--the masterwork of a goldsmith who has melded alloys of the most magical metals.

. . . . . . This, then, is why I say that the garden is the man. Here is a painter who, in our own time, has mutiplied the harmonies of color, has gone as far as one person can into the subtlety, opulence, and resonance of color. He has dared to create effects so true-to-life as to appear unreal, but which charm us irresistibly, as does all truth revealed."[2]

Enjoy a beautiful tour of Monet's Garden in Giverny, France. Video from 'lynnvm'

To take a look at other videos with my posts:

Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England & video

Damien Hirst & video

Pablo Picasso & video

Vincent van Gogh Said ... & video

Robert Motherwell Bio & video

Major Cézanne Exhibit & video

Visit a blog post at daily Qi about the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) re-opening, with a video media tour of the revitalized AGO and Frank Gehry's architecture.

Photo of Claude Monet from Wikipedia.
[1] Christoph Heinrich, Claude Monet trans. Michael Hulse (Cologne: Benedikt Taschen, 1994), 73.

[2] Charles F. Stuckey, ed., Monet: A Retrospective (New York: Hugh Lauter Levin Associates, Inc., 1985), 220-223.

No comments: