Winter brings a bitter chill and an invitation to keep a stack of books and a pot of hot tea close at hand. This is a time of respite and recuperation. Or so it would appear. But as every gardener knows, our world is always in transition, at work, even when there is an appearance of rest. Deep in the hard earth, many things are happening, waiting for spring’s entrance.
I have returned to the Artists in the Garden theme that explores the profound connection of creative endeavour with that of gardens and nature. The intermingling of sun, soil, seeds, and water brings forth new life, even as an artist gives birth to an internal vision that seeks an outlet.
Giverny, the home of Claude Monet, is a quintessential artist’s garden. According to Giverny’s official tourist site, over 500,000 visitors stroll the paths of the two gardens: Clos Normand in the front of Monet’s home and the Japanese inspired water garden on the other side of the road. A sleepy rural village with roots dating to the Neolithic period, grape cultivation from Merovingian times, and a church built in the Romanesque style during the Middle Ages, became transformed with the arrival of Claude Monet in 1883.
“My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece.” Claude Monet
Giverny became Monet’s home and sanctuary. His garden stretched into a massive landscaping project, which became his ever-present source of inspiration. The year 1899 marked the beginning of Monet’s painting of water lilies, first with the Japanese bridge in the background, followed thereafter with a series of magnificent large-scale paintings.
Giveny, with its passing seasons and variations of light became the place where Monet created his most beloved paintings.
“Every day I discover more and more beautiful things. It’s enough to drive one mad. I have such a desire to do everything, my head is bursting with it.” Claude Monet
“I must have flowers, always, and always.”
Royal Academy curator, Ann Dumas, shares her thoughts on “A Visit to Monet’s Garden.”