The light. Yes, it was all about the light, the flowers, the air, the back-in-time sense of strolling through a living work of art. In an afternoon in Monet’s garden in October of 2008, I felt like an Inpressionist artist myself, seeing the grounds of this homey place in Giverny, feeling that this prolific artist had loaned me his own eyes for the day.
The light was a bit too harsh, too contrasty for fine photography. But did I care? Mais, non! These were the famous water lilies. These were the views Monet captured in 272 canvases featuring his water garden. These were the the places that Monet loved, late into his long life when cataracts influenced his work, as outlined by a Stanford opthamologist.
Monet was a true plant geek. “With the passing years he developed a passion for botany, exchanging plants with his friends Clemenceau and Caillebotte. Always on the look-out for rare varieties, he bought young plants at great expense. ‘All my money goes into my garden, he said. But also: ‘I am in raptures.’ ” (From www.giverney.org)
Go, if you can. Take the train from Paris and walk to the garden. Allow time to visit the Musée des Impressionnismes Giverny. We didn’t, so must go back. Created in 1992 “to explore the historic and aesthetic connections between French and American artists,” it is now dedicated to “all the different forms of Impressionism, one of the most popular painting movements” and is surrounded by free gardens.
Allez, allez! Go, go!