Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Claude Monet’s Water Lilies

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Claude Monet’s Water Lilies

When I first began wondering what piece to do for this assignment, I realized that I would have no time to go to an actual museum and view a work of art, let alone take enough notes on it to write three pages. I decided to use Water Lilies, which is in the National Gallery of London, England. I love Monets ability to paint with such freedom and expression. I think his great talents are the reasons that he and most of his art will remain a mysterious masterpiece for centuries to come.

By doing research on Monet online and reading some books at the library, I got a new understanding of his art work. I found out that while he was painting Water Lilies, he was mourning over the death of his first wife. That was in 1911. Some say the reason he painted was to forget the fact that he was so lonely. I also learned that he had a full blown cataract, but never let it change or get in the way of his art. I love the Water Lilies because it displays the true beauty and peace in nature. It fits in the art and nature realm. People generally don’t take the time to see how beautiful and serene nature actually is. Looking at this painting always relaxes me. It is almost like I’m actually standing there by the pond, staring out at all of the water lilies.

One of my favorite parts of this painting is the color. I guess it’s not so much the colors itself, but how he uses it, how he blends them together so perfectly. Monet gives the viewer just enough detail to make out, but also leaves some of the images unfinished, so they are left up to the imagination for completion.

I think that anyone who looks at this painting would naturally want to know, or even see, what is beyond the pond of lilies. Monet understood that art is what the viewer wants it to be, and that it isn’t about the artist. This piece is one that almost everyone loves, or at least finds very interesting. Monet had an incredible ability to please many people, and that is what made him so successful. He is a name that most people know, and can think of at least one of his works of art.

The piece is very beautiful in the aspect of design. I think that it doesn’t have a real vanishing point, but they eye is drawn to the dark spots in between the fence rails in the trees in the background. If there is a vanishing point, it would be the top center, right above the darker places. Line is used very interestingly in the painting, because there are lines in the lilies. The fence brings some aspect of line to the paintings as well. Shape is beautiful in the piece, because everything has its’ own shape and is so unique. The trees, I’m assuming are weeping willows, are so pretty because each branch is different. I don’t really think it has a texture, other than the fact it is a painting, but it does make you want to fell the lilies, the water, and run your hand along the bridge.

Space is used very interestingly. The only way Monet uses space in this painting is that he doesn’t. There is not a single spot in the picture that is left empty or colorless. It is beautifully stuffed full of flowers and trees. Even where there aren’t any flowers, he fills the space with water, and reflections of the painting.

The value is very light. The paint is almost a pastel, and Monet uses it to keep things airy and dainty. I get a feeling that this is a cool, misty day, but the air isn’t heavy at all. The only places that are the value increases are the darker spots in the trees. The balance in the painting is wonderful, almost perfect, because there isn’t a certain side that has more than the other, yet each one is its own. The top and bottom are balanced as well, yet so unique because one is trees, and one is water and plants. The bridge is more to the top of the picture, but still, it doesn’t seem to put the picture out of balance at all.

When I look at this painting, I am just waiting to feel the wind blow, and see some movement in the trees and ripples in the water. It brings you into the art and makes it seem that it is part of your life, part of your mind, part of your quiet place. Monet did a wonderful job with this painting, even though he was suffering from his wife’s death. He also did a wonderful job with linear perspective. Monet made it seem that there is more than one dimension. It makes you want to reach out and touch it, just to see how far away it actually goes.

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