After visiting Monet’s garden and the Musee de l’Orangerie, a discussion of these two experiences

Upon entering the oval rooms of Monet's lilies, I saw immediately a big departure from what we saw in the garden at Giverny.

The focus of his paintings is clear, the things that Monet edited out of the actual views are just as important as his focus on the water, the lilies and the weeping trees. The gardens are truly joyful things, but at the time that Monet painted them for these large canvasses he, and the rest of the country didn't see things in a joyful light. The wars had taken their toll on Monet and the people and these canvasses had a heaviness that reflected that. The peace, the solace and the quiet hope and beauty they conveyed was clear. There is happiness in these paintings to be sure but a tempered one. One meant to slowly heal.

In the gardens of Giverny I felt surrounded by raw and vibrant life, but the paintings conveyed a more quiet strength. A will to live and find happiness and peace even through the challenge of existence. Monet succeeded in translating the vigor of the garden into a silent and digestible strength for healing. These rooms hold a different beauty all together than the gardens at Giverny.

Nadia ChilmonikComment