National Gallery of Art - Monet

“Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love.” 

The Artist's Garden in Argenteuil
(A Corner of the Garden with Dahlias)
oil on canvas   c 1873
French, 1840-1926

I am so glad that Monet said it was simply necessary to love his art not to understand it. I will be first to admit that I do not know the first thing about art. But after my trip to the National Gallery of Art yesterday and viewing an original Leonardo da Vinci painting for the first time, I want to learn more! It had a powerful effect on me and I loved spending time looking at these gorgeous Monet paintings later in the day. 

The Japanese Footbridge
oil on canvas, 1899

Monet was baptized as Oscar-Claude Monet but his parents called his Oscar. He wanted to be an artist but his father wanted him to go into the family grocery business. I am glad he stuck with his desire to be an artist and did not become a grocer! He was so passionate about his painting and having mastered the technique of painting 'en plein aire' or in other words, painting outdoors, he spent most of his life painting the gardens that he so painstakingly architected himself. 

The Artist's Garden at Vetheuil
oil on canvas, 1880

Claude Monet invented the style of painting called Impressionism. He also spent a great deal of his time in school as a teenager drawing ridiculous caricatures of his teachers and classmates instead of studying.  He loved painting the outdoors and liked his paintings to be happy and full of sunshine. Monet was very interested in how things looked when sunlight struck them. 

The Banks of the Seine, Vetheuil
oil on canvas, 1880

His first wife, Camille Doncieux, was the model for many of his paintings, including The Woman in the Green Dress, Women in a Garden, and On the Bank of the Seine. 

Woman with a Parasol - Madame Monet and Her Son
oil on canvas, 1875

The Cradle - Camille with the Artist's Sone Jean
oil on canvas, 1867

Houses of Parliament, Sunset
oil on canvas, 1903

Rouen Cathedral, West Facade
oil on canvas, 1894

I spent a considerable amount of time admiring Monet's paintings. They really were happy and filled with nature, for the most part. The subjects were personal, the colors bright, and the setting beautiful.  While I wandered this room and circled it a few times, I came back to the entrance to start all over again, and happened to come across this scene. 

A young French art student planted in front of one of Monet's paintings and furiously sketching away. I tapped him on his shoulder and asked if I could take a picture of him sketching Monet and he graciously gave his approval. How classic!! I loved it. 

And finally, one of my favorite paintings in this collection. 

The Bridge at Argenteuil
oil on canvas, 1874

I hope you enjoyed the short tour of some of Monet's fascinating paintings and I hope that it inspires you to go and see them in person. 


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