Tag Archives: Monet

Impressions of Normandy

Monet’s garden in Giverny is the quintessential stop on the Impressionist trail, but it’s certainly not the only one. Continue west further into Normandy, and you’ll come across some other places where he was inspired to paint.


Beginning in 1892, Monet spent a year camped out in front of Rouen’s cathedral, capturing the play of light on its façade at different times of the day and in various seasons. In all, he produced some thirty paintings of the Gothic church, none of which included the scaffolding and advertisements that besmirched the exterior while we were there.

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Famous Flora: Monet’s Garden

Monet's Garden Bridge Giverny

After seeing countless renditions of Monet’s water lilies on museum walls, we finally laid our eyes on the real thing.

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Museums of Memories

Monet's Garden, Giverny France

Monet's Garden, Giverny France

More than just art, I find museums to store fantastic collections of memories. They’re life sized photo albums of our travels. It is always a great joy to find beautiful representations of places we’ve been, or to revisit a fantastic work we originally saw in a different city. It’s a bit like reliving the old and discovering the new all at the same time.

Shannon’s post from this morning reminded me of the terrific Monet we saw in Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Art Museum, which to me was more than just a painting. My first glimpse of Nympheas brought instant recognition and a flood of memories. I knew from the size and the shape of the canvas that this work was intended to hang in Paris’s awesome musée de l’Orangerie; a place we visited in 2007. The Orangerie has a world renowned collection of impressionist art, the centerpiece of which displays eight large-format Monets along the walls of two oval rooms. Pittsburgh’s Nympheas belongs to that series.

Standing in front of that painting I was several places at once. In Pittsburgh I appreciated a Monet. In Paris I photographed my wife who, in retrospect, would have chosen a different blouse for the occasion. In Giverny, I walked through Monet’s gardens and admired the water lilies that where the inspiration for these masterpieces. All of these experiences, past and present, embodied in one work of art. Is it any wonder we so enjoy museums?

Musee de l'Orangerie

Shannon at Musee de l'Orangerie, Paris, France, 2007

Our Kind of Art

Claude Monet Nympheas

As you might have gathered from Brian’s last post, we prefer our art bigger and bolder than a white canvas no matter how intricate the monochromatic layers are supposed to be.

Claude Monet’s Nympheas (Water Lilies) is one of the many colorful paintings on display in the Carnegie Museum of Art, which was founded more than a century ago and has one of the best collections we’ve seen during our U.S. travels.

Tycoon Andrew Carnegie envisioned a cultural temple where ordinary folks could marvel at European wonders they would never be able to afford to see in person. He conjured up the Hall of Architecture, a specially-built, sky lit room housing the third largest collection of plaster casts in the world.

A façade of a French Benedictine abbey takes up one entire wall, measuring about 40 feet high and 78 feet wide. We’ve seen the originals of  some of the pieces, like the ornate bronze doors on the Baptistry in Florence. It’s a dazzling display. No convincing needed.

Carnegie Museum of Art, Hall of Architecture

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