REFLECTION 2: Les Nymphéas

15 Jun

While still in Paris, I looked at Monet’s cycle of paintings at the Orangerie. They are called Nymphéas (water lilies in English) and were painted between 1914 and 1926. They are two meters high and 100 meters in length presented in two elliptically shaped rooms with natural ceiling lighting. Monet himself designed the rooms. It is hard for me, as a beginning art student, to analyze Monet. He is one of the artists I’ve known about since childhood and revered like Santa Claus; only this white bearded man was real and his magic is known as impressionism. The Orangerie is awe inducing. I sat on the bench in the center of the room for quite a period of time. Each brush stroke was planned and coordinated, but as I walk towards the painting, they become sporadic colors and blur themselves into nothing. I wondered how it is possible to paint like this. Did Monet sit meters away from the canvas with long brushes and dab at his canvas? Of course not, but I would never have the vision to create an impressionist painting. I particularly liked the panel you see above this post. While the scene is obviously portraying night, Monet incorporates color instead of just darkness. The bright blues in the water pop. At first I wondered if this was actually the color of water, but after a few nights at Ponte Neuf with the lights reflecting off of the Seine, I understood how water can take on color. It just takes a certain eye to be able to capture this in art. The bright pink lilies lighten the painting. They draw the viewer into the scene. They are one of the most aesthetically beautiful things I have ever seen. The whole painting works to portray beauty and nature. It also speaks to the paintings around it, creating a fantasy world for the observers at the Orangerie. Besides the sheer beauty of Monet’s lilies, I considered his impart on the art world. I thought of Monet’s predecessors and began to realize how influential his work for impressionism was. His use of color seemed to open a gateway for other artists. For the first time, reality was not portrayed in a picturesque matter. Instead, we have an impression of reality. This genius is as beautiful as the paintings.


One Response to “REFLECTION 2: Les Nymphéas”

  1. cécile July 3, 2011 at 10:10 am #

    Nice reflection on your own experience viewing the painting 😉

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