Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Paris gardens

paintings by Claude Monet

Claude Monet was 82 years old when he agreed to paint 19 panels of paintings that would be arranged in an oval or a circle in museum rooms designed solely for the paintings.  The painting, directly above, consists of four panels.  When I was standing there looking, I was about the size of the brown tree trunk:  large and vast these paintings are!  The imagery is from his gardens at Giverny.  The museum where the paintings were installed is a former greenhouse for orange trees, L'Orangerie, on the other side of a very long garden from The Louvre.

Water gardens and paint become the room; we are a part of a another world.

Monet's health was not great, and his eyesight was bothering him.  Still, he made these amazing paintings.  Mostly, he used brushes that were about an inch wide.  Still, there is amazing variety in the touch and sweep of the brushwork and there is elegance in the economy of the brushwork coming together to form images like water lilies or to animate the passages between the recognizable images.  And the color is gorgeous.  More than anything, Monet knew, loved, and passed on to us a joy of color.

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