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Claude Monet: a sea of flowers

In this blog, I visit the gardens of the painter Claude Monet. One of the most important painters of Impressionism. Unfortunately, the famous artist is no longer alive, he died of lung cancer in 1926 at the age of 86. The various gardens he has laid out, with large water ponds, can still be admired in their full size and splendour of colours. In 1980 the house and gardens were opened to the general public.

On my way to the gardens of Claude Monet
I had finished my story on Chateau Pierrefonds and decided to drive towards Giverny (Normandy). On my way I already saw in my mind the well-known painting from Claude Monet with “that famous Japanese, green wooden bridge over which wisteria hangs”. Many of you know this painting. The Paris-born impressionist Monet bought a house with a walled orchard and vegetable garden in the middle of the village of Giverny in 1883. He would live there until he died in 1926. A place he transformed into a special landscape full of colour, the “Clos Normand”.

Keukenhof in the Netherlands
As a Dutchman, I am proud of the Keukenhof. The vast colourful flower park near Lisse. That’s why I am curious about Monet’s gardens in France. Can it compete with the Keukenhof?

Paradise
Monet spent some forty years here in Giverny, together with his wife Camille and their children. What a party that must have been! Their paradise in which the most beautiful flowers can be found. The colours and scents, the ponds with countless water lilies. Weeping willows reflecting along the pond. Birds flying back and forth… The buzzing of bees… It’s Monet’s world that not only left us paintings but also a nature gift created by the painter. So that we can imagine what it must be like to paint in this environment. I feel very comfortable, especially around the pond. Even if it is a bit busy, standing on that bridge…

Monet had this colourful world at his feet. The flower garden and the Japanese inspired water garden. This is where Monet painted his many canvases. The most beautiful works hang in museums all over the world. Paintings can also be seen here in Giverny.

I sometimes find it a bit strange to walk through someone’s house where they stayed for such a long period of their life. Someone I’ve never met but only know for his art and love for nature and her amazing colour palette. Would his ghost still haunt here, through the pink house with the green shutters?

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Big party
I was very curious about the painter’s salon studio. The kitchen with the blue tiles, the dining room. His bedroom… All the original furniture can still be found here. The atmosphere of the rooms is cosy and warm. I look out over the gardens from one of the windows on the first floor. Along with many others. Because every day is busy here. Sometimes it feels like a big party where we celebrate the beauty of nature together, with Monet in mind. People are busy here photographing almost every flower and bush. Take selfies… To tell others about this special place, to make a blog or Insta about Monet and “his” paradise of natural beauty. As I do. Here and there people are drawing. That one flower or that lush flower bed.

Colour palette
The weather is bright today, because a grey sky above this famous pond is not appropriate. How else does this natural colour palette reflect in a pond full of lilies? You need that blue sky for that.

It’s busy here. Here and there we even walk in rows step by foot along the pond and the many flower species. Lilies, bamboo, peonies. Lost in thought I see people staring at the bridge… Famous and special places do something special to people.

Monet didn’t just paint flowers and plants. He was also active in the Netherlands and painted in Leiden, Amsterdam and the Zaanstreek. I do not know whether he knew the Keukenhof and painted there… So we are back at the Keukenhof. What do I like more? They both have something very special. In any case, it’s a special experience to have been at the place where Claude Monet has lived and worked.

Note:
In JCW Magazine you can find the XL photo report that I made in Giverny.Note:

John Vijlbrief

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