Talking about Emily Dickinson’s love of flower gardens led me down the garden path to remember another story about a famous artist who’s known for his paintings, but not especially for the passion that drove him: his gardens.
I’m talking about Monet.
Claude Monet (1840-1926) is one of the great French Impressionists. In 1883, he moved to a property along the Seine in the French countryside called Giverny. While he was already an established artist, painting both landscapes and portraits …
the property at Giverny inspired him to undertake a huge landscaping project, including lily ponds that would become the subjects of his most famous paintings.
“With the help of his family and six gardeners,” reports NPR, “Monet planted, nurtured and composed his garden—a world of flowers made up of yellow, pink and red roses arrayed on the ground and draping over metal arches; patches of bright red geraniums; pale purple lavender; deep purple pansies; irises; impatiens; peonies and more.” He composed his paintings by first planting exactly what he wanted to capture on canvas.
For the next 20 years, Monet painted his gardens. He focused mainly on the water lilies, painting 250 canvases of them, some of which were multiple panels, each as wide as 14 feet.
Today, Monet’s property at Giverny operates as a living museum, where you can experience the beauty of both Monet’s passions yearly from the end of March until November 1st. Find out more at Giverny-Impression.com.