When I was in middle school, I went with my parents and grandparents to a special exhibit of paintings at the Venetian in Las Vegas. It was my first real exposure to fine paintings. At the time, I didn’t know much about art (I’m still not an art historian by a long shot), but I did know that I like what I saw, and that was enough.
The exhibit at the Venetian featured the work of Claude Monet, the most famous of the impressionist painters. I don’t remember many specifics from that first exposure to Monet’s work, but I do remember my dad explaining to me how Monet’s paintings look random up close, but come into focus when you step back.
Since that time, I have taken classes on history and learned more about art. Although my appreciation of many artists has grown greatly because of them, Monet remains one of my very favorites.
Going to see the Monet collection at the Musée Marmatton Monet was one of the coolest things we’ve done so far in Paris.
The museum is an old house. The floors creak, so it’s easy to keep track of everybody. The Monet paintings were displayed on the bottom floor on red walls. I think the red walls helped to bring out the color of the paintings.
Here are some of my favorite paintings:
First up are paintings from the first wall. There was a painting of train in the snow, one of a windmill in Holland, and one of a field of yellow flowers. I love the bright colors in each of these paintings.
The thick brush strokes are visible from the pictures, but up close you can see how thickly the oil paint is layered onto the canvases.
The painting Impression: Sunrise is the painting that gave the impressionist movement its name. Courtney really like it, although I prefer the sunrise painting we found the next day at the Petit Palais museum which is very similar.
The bigger Monet paintings were in the other rooms. I liked the painting of the agapanthus flowers. They remind me of home and my mom. (I have a memory of at some point teaching me the word agapanthus.)
There was a painting of a cathedral Monet did, which is one of the paintings I looked up when I was learning to play Debussy’s “La Cathedral Engluotie”. I always pictured the climax of the piece, when the cathedral has risen from a swamp, to look something like this.
And then, of course, you have the paintings that make more sense the farther you get away from them. Can you see what this one is?
Take a step back.
Step all the way back.
It’s one of three paintings that were on display that Monet did of a Japanese footbridge over a pond. I like how the middle one (the reddish one shown above) seems to have autumn leaves raining down into the water of the pond. Or at least that’s how I see it.
And, of course, we saw the lily pond paintings.
If you turn this last one upside down, it looks like the lily pads are floating away into the sky under a willow tree.
Any day with a Monet is a good day, don’t you think?