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INSTRUCTIONS : Monet’s Nymphéas

Monet spent over half of his life living and working in Giverny, France…a little village an hour north of Paris in Normandy. After spending a lifetime in constant pursuit of perfect lighting effects, he stopped traveling and cultivated the gardens of Le Pressoir, his home, so that he would always have something to paint. Monet applied the same color theories to his gardens as he did on the canvas. Complementary colors were juxtaposed with one another creating a spectacle of color each season. In the spring, pale yellows bloomed next to soft pinks. In the fall, fiery oranges and deep purples would take over. Not only was he an artist, he was a horticulturist. When he wasn’t painting, he was reading books about flowers and gardening. 

After living in Le Pressoir for many years, he and Alice (his second wife), purchased an adjacent piece of land that he transformed into his famous Waterlily Garden. It was this subject matter that consumed him the last quarter of his life. By 1914, Alice and his eldest son, Jean had died. Consumed with grief, Monet sought comfort in his gardens. With World War I raging in the background, Monet completed a series of panoramic panels that would eventually be installed in the Musee de l’Orangerie in Paris (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Spend some time reading about Monet’s Nymphéas and explore the installation via the museum’s virtual tour. While looking about these works, think about Monet’s life, both personal and professional. These works are the culmination of his artistic career that spanned nearly 70 years. For this week’s Discussion, share with the class your gut reaction to the following questions. Please format your posts in paragraph format. 

  1. Consider the Elements of Art. How does Monet use line, shape, volume and mass, color, light, time and movement, space and texture in his work? Not all may apply. 
  2. Consider the Principles of Design. How does Monet use repetition, rhythm, pattern, balance, contrast, scale and proportion, directional force, unity and variety, emphasis and subordination in his work? Not all may apply. 
  3. How has Monet shown depth of the water?
  4. What do you think surrounds the pond? How do you know?
  5. What three words would you use to describe this painting to someone who could not see it?
  6. What do you think these works are about? Do you think they are a reflection of his personal and professional life? 
  7. Monet’s Nymphéas are quite famous. Why do you think these paintings are so highly regarded? 
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