The paintings and sculptures of Monet, Manet, Renoir, Degas, Cassatt, Morisot, Pissarro and their contemporaries exemplify the Impressionist movement which began to flourish in the Paris of the 1880’s. Likened to the glimpse out the window of a moving locomotive, these artists strived to convey light and movement and its effects on gardens, landscapes and vignettes of people; to get out of the studios and paint in the open air capturing the natural beauty of its subject. For Monet this was key; it was the excitement of painting as directly as possible the visible, contemporary world that fired his imagination.
Though their paintings sell for millions of dollars now, when they had their first show in Paris the staid art society of the time scoffed and ridiculed them. It is one of the ironies of history that their paintings were received with incomprehension and derision by many of the same sort of people who today find them so appealing. Though Edouard Manet is regarded as “the father of impressionism” it is Claude Monet whose works are more familiar today. His water lilies series alone are more renowned but Manet was also a master of the style and Degas’ ballerinas are superb. You would be hard-pressed to say that Renoir was any less a painter than any of the others. They all deserved and still do the accolades bestowed upon them then and now.
Since I have been following in the footsteps of my extremely lucky sister-in-law while she travels through Europe, I am focusing on Monet as she recently visited one of the towns in which he lived.
Less than 2 hours by train from Paris, Giverny is a village in the region of Normandy in northern France. Impressionist painter Claude Monet lived and worked here from 1883 until his death in 1926. The artist’s former home and elaborate gardens, where he produced his famed water lily series, are now the Fondation Claude Monet museum. Below is a link to the organization.
If you are in France and have the opportunity to visit this quaint little village, I would recommend you go and see the inspiration for many of Monet’s masterpieces. A great day trip from Paris. C’est marvielleux!!