Thoughts on Waterlilies and the Canvases On Which They Are Painted

After the Opera and the Louvre, I thought I might as well stop by the Orangiere since it was almost right there.

The Orangiere is tucked away the Tulieres park, which is hugged by the wings of the Louvre and sat upon by the Place Concord. The museum is most famous for housing Monet’s waterlilies.

He painted lots and lots of waterlilies, of course, but there are several giant waterlily paintings which are rather beautifully presented in two white oval rooms. Most are ten  to fifteen feet long and about six feet tall. They are each comprised of three or four smaller canvases set together.

I don’t particularly like impressionism, and I personally don’t understand the obsession with waterlilies, but I was struck by two things:

1) The patience it must have taken to paint an impressionist waterlily the size of my face must be respected. It only works if you step back a few feet, so you would have to constantly be stepping backward and forward.

2) Why in heavens name are the joints between the canvases so obvious? I understand that doing each large work in pieces makes practical sense, but if you examine the areas where the canvases meet, waterlilies are cut off, colors change, and occasionally a dab of white has clearly been added over the joint as an afterthought to continuity. Why did he do it that way?

. . . and that was about as much time as I spent thinking about it. What is your opinion on waterlilies?

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One thought on “Thoughts on Waterlilies and the Canvases On Which They Are Painted

  1. Kathleen says:

    One thing you can observe here is the obvious deterioration of his eyesight over time and his perception of color. These paintings are actually used in Optometry school to demonstrate deterioration of vision. If you visited Giverny (where he lived – and a place you can visit) you would see that he was painting his back yard. When I visited they had just opened L’ Orangerie (that day) after massive remodeling to accommodate these paintings. Love your blog.

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