Claude Monet painted the Water Lilies series from 1895 to 1926, i.e. until his death. This immense work, which comprises more than 300 paintings, of which some 40 are in the form of large-format panels, was inspired by his property in Giverny, Normandy. This remarkable mural decoration occupied him completely from 1914 onwards.
Where can you see the Water Lilies?
Today, Claude Monet’s Water Lilies can be admired in Paris at the Musée de l’Orangerie in the Tuileries, but works from the famous series can also be found in several major museums around the world. It’s worth noting that the patterns for this monumental work were inspired by his garden in Giverny. He designed a water garden with a Japanese bridge and water lilies in glittering mother-of-pearl covering an octagonal pool. Monet immortalised the site and named the Water Lilies series after the Nymphaeales. As early as 1899, Monet had captured the green bridge of the water garden in the painting “The Japanese Bridge”. During his lifetime, Parisian society flocked to Giverny, 75 kilometres away. Today, more than 700,000 visitors stroll through Monet’s estate each year to discover the origins of his art in this small village on the banks of the Seine.
The Water Lilies are about much more than an impressionist setting!
The setting painted by Claude Monet is much more than just an impressionist landscape. In the painter’s own words, it is a walk that plunges the eye into a “flowery aquarium”, a silent and pure nature conducive to questioning, meditation and daydreaming. The eye is certainly marked by the water lilies, the aquatic plants, but the décor also offers soft music. As one moves through the rooms of the museum, a sense of silence and calm pervades them. Monet conveys a message of hope and renewal away from the hectic pace of the modern world.
A truly unique work
The Water Lilies is not only unique in its size, but it also explores the countless possibilities of touch and colour. Thanks to the no human or animal presence, the surface of the pond becomes the mirror of the soul. Up close, the eye is captivated by this shoreless sheet of water, its mysteries and the fabulous changing effects of light. Monet took all the painting techniques of the Impressionists and produced a unique work. He succeeded in creating a work of peace in a world where war was taking its toll.