Monday, 15 May 2017

Paris Day 4

Well I have been to Botanical Gardens, Palace Gardens, cultured gardens etc and yet I have been completely spellbound by my visit today in Monet’s Garden Giverny. There is a charm, a delicacy, a something that you just can’t quite put your finger on that makes this garden very dreamy, and different from any other. The day started out overcast and even had spitting rain, and the chill in the air had increased, so we started our time in the gardens with the blooms providing the colour and charm, then the clouds rolled back, the temperature rose, the light hit the ground and the leaves began to dance. Such contrast within a short space of time however I fell so blessed to have seen this marvel in these different hues as I imagine Monet himself would have done.

At every turn there was another view, angle, subtlety to be examined. I feel so blessed to have seen this magic parcel of land, in all its glory I think probably very similar to what it would have looked like all those years ago. I am not an artist but can so see why so much magnificent art has been created from this place, inspiration just jumps from the petals into your soul and drips down upon you from the trees. I was so disappointed to leave and meet the mundane need of food, I truly just wanted to sit and be in this tranquil setting. Although people come here by the hundreds and it was a Sunday they seemed to disperse over the property and I didn’t feel completely overwhelmed by the crowds or perhaps was it more that I was transported to another place amongst the sweet scent and delicate petals, and the rainbows of colour.

As we strolled along the paths from the bus here we found Monet’s bust.

Monet started his career as a caricaturist. The Art Institute of Chicago keeps one of his most ancient drawings, this man in a small hat made when he was 15 years old. Because the title is so vague and the drawing rather respectful, we can imagine that this young person may have been Monet’s school mate. Later on, Monet became more offending by drawing what was not yet called the people of Le Havre, as they say in French: the upper middle class bourgeoisie of his city. 

Claude Monet designed his water garden from scratch, turning a marshland into a beautiful waterscape to paint. His eye as a painter can be noticed in the much thought of composition of the garden. Every where perspectives draw the sight, offering a readymade composition to the artist.

We first entered the garden beside the his home.

We toured the home which is filled with his works and kept as it was in the day. A detail strikes the visitors who enter Monet’s bedroom at that the bed is ridiculously small. Claude Monet wasn’t very tall, and he didn’t share his bed with his wife. They had separate bedrooms. Not because they didn’t care, but rich families copied the aristocracy and had separate ‘appartements’, though they were connected. Monet could get up very early without waking his wife. He loved to paint before sunrise, when the river is still covered with mist.

The bed and the armoire, which were not very expensive furniture, were painted according to Monet’s taste. Monet had gorgeous views over his garden from his bedroom’s three windows. The painter designed his bedroom, he had it built just over the first studio. He wanted a lot of light in it.

One of the views from the bedroom.

After viewing the house we strolled through the garden again and headed for the Lilypond which is just breathtaking. How I would love to spend time here in all hours of the day, sunrise, sunset, etc with the reflections mirroring back to you the beauty of this so skillfully crafted garden. 

After some lunch we strolled through the village keep is so charming complimenting Giverny so well.

Claude Monet is buried at Giverny behind Eglise Sainte Radegonde. It is a big family tomb planted with flowers, what sounds only natural for such a great gardener. Monet rests together with his second wife Alice, his two sons Jean and Michel and their wives. Susan, a daughter of Alice, and Alice’s first husband Ernest Hosched√© also keep Monet company. It is rather ironical that Monet and his rival rest in the same grave.

The reason is that Ernest was the first one to die, and his children -raised by Monet- wanted him to rest in Giverny to be able to go on their father’s grave easily. The next one to pass away was Susan. Logically, she was buried with her father. Alice never recovered from this latter grief. When she succumbed to leucemia, she joined her beloved daughter in her last residence. Next came Jean, Monet’s son, and Claude Monet himself. He died the 5th of December 1926 from lung cancer.

What a day to remember.

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