Nymphéas

The Musée du Louvre is the most visited museum in Paris, perhaps in the whole world, and rightly so. I doubt I will ever find enough time to do justice to all it has to offer.

But when you are done here, a short walk down to the Musée de l’Orangerie can be a highly rewarding experience. The highlight – a series of the famous ‘Waterlilies’ by Claude Monet.

Colour is my day-long
obsession, joy and torment

Monet devoted an enormous amount of time in creating his beautiful garden in Giverny, and then an equal amount of time translating them onto canvas. These stunning works are considered unique in landscape art, not just for their shape and size, but also for the absence of horizon lines. And remarkably most of them were painted in the last three decades of his life, when his eyes were clouded with cataracts!

“In short I use white lead,
cadmium yellow, vermilion, madder,
cobalt blue, chrome, green.
That’s all.”

Eight enormous canvas panels are housed in two elliptical rooms, specially redesigned to let in natural light, the essence of all impressionist art. The result is a remarkable tableaux of changing colour and mood, with every change in weather, seasons and the hours of the day!

Imagine a circular room…covered with  water,
dotted with these plants to the very horizon,
walls of a transparency alternately green and mauve,
the calm and silence of the still waters reflecting
the open blossoms. The tones are vague,
deliciously nuanced, with a dreamlike delicacy.”

The Nymphéa are certainly special. But don’t forget to check out the other Impressionist masterpieces in the underground gallery. A visit to this less visited – at the time at least – museum, was one of my treasured moments in Paris.

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