The Royal Academy’s exhibition, Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse, opened Saturday 30th January and will run until Wednesday 20th April. Featuring works from the likes of Monet, Renoir, Kandinsky and Matisse the exhibit explores the influence and relationship between the garden and art.
‘I perhaps owe it to flowers that I became a painter’ Claude Monet
The exhibit features dozens of great artists, arguably the star of the show is Claude Monet. The co-curator of the exhibit, William Robinson, said that in his opinion ‘Monet was the greatest painter of gardens in the history of art’. Monet was a passionate gardener, with gardening and painting his garden preoccupying much of his life. Monet himself said “I perhaps owe it to flowers that I became a painter’.
Monet created gardens to enjoy and paint wherever he lived. He saw himself as gardener / artist and so did many of his contemporaries, so much so that friend, August Renoir, depicts Monet amongst his flowers in his painting, Monet Painting in His Garden at Argenteuil, 1873 (pictured right).
Arguably, the highlight of the exhibit is Monet’s Water Lilies, 1914-26 (pictures above). Monet spent the last 12 years of his life continuously revisiting this painting making adjustments. Monet was rumoured to spend hours sat watching his water lily pond at his home in Giverny and then distil all he had witnessed onto canvas. The result of this dedication to one piece is spectacular; Monet has been able to capture the continuously changing qualities of light and water movement. The viewer is encapsulated by the vast scale of the piece and is transported to his water lily pond in his Giverny home.
This is far from a Monet retrospective, if you visit this exhibition you will discover the paintings of some of the most important Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and Avant-Garde artists of the early twentieth century. For more information about the Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse exhibit please click here.
This article was written by Leigh