Marvellous Monet, Gardener and Painter

Claude Monet, one of the Western world’s best loved painters, was a founder of Impressionism.
It’s difficult, in the 21st century, to appreciate quite how radical this school of painting was in its day.
The conservative Academie had quite a hold on the Arts in Paris at the time, and it rejected works
by Monet, Renoir, Pissarro and Sisley.  They broke away from the Academie to exhibit independently,
and it was a painting of Monet’s – ‘Impression, Sunrise’ – in their first show, in 1874, that gave the
movement its name.

Monet loved to paint outdoors, and to paint scenes of modern life, including bridges and train
stations.  He painted some wonderful views of London, Venice and other places he visited and
lived to escape the Franco-Prussian war.  Yet perhaps his best known works are the many
paintings made in his fabulous garden at Giverny in Northern France, where he later settled.
In particular those of the pond and Japanese style bridge he created, and the water lilies that
he cultivated there in marvellous profusion.

In his later years Monet developed cataracts; his paintings at this time reflect his failing sight
(later restored by surgery) and have a particular beauty.  There are a great many paintings of lilies,
and some of the largest and most beautiful are very impressively displayed in Paris in L’Orangerie,
constructed especially to hold them.  Also well worth a visit are the house and garden at Giverny,
now open to the public.

His iconic images are an inspiration and a joy.