Beyond the Canvas
Spring in art part 3: Monet's wonderful floral obsession
No celebration of the beauty of nature in Spring can be complete without dedicating one post to Claude Monet. Luckily for us, the Impressionist master's love for the representation of flowers and gardens in bloom knew no bounds. So much so, that he is quoted to have said that flowers were the reason he became a painter in the first place.
This is an early Monet, he was only 24 when he produced this stunning picture. It's a lush cascade of lilacs, tulips, peonies, geraniums and hydrangeas that dominate and burst outside the picture plane. Whilst the flowers are painted with great precision, we can already see how Monet's dynamic brushwork conveys the delicate fleshiness of the petals.
Monet's symbiotic love story with flowers continued until his last day. In 1883 he moved to Giverny (some 70 km north west of Paris) where he enthusiastically embraced horticulture and created a magnificent flower garden, which he painted time and time again. The Japanese-inspired water garden built around the pond in his domaine would later serve as inspiration for his many water lily paintings.
In 1904 Monet said: "Beyond painting and gardening, I am good for nothing. My greatest masterpiece is my garden." That's it, I have mentally earmarked another destination for when we can all travel freely again.
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Claude Monet,Spring Flowers (1864), The Cleveland Museum of Art