Claude Oscar Monet moved to a house in Giverny along with his family by late 1800s – his last home, which can be visited to this day. The artist began to dedicate his time and money on his vast garden, filling it with an abundance of vegetations, vibrant flowers, and many tall trees – as Monet once said: “My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece.”. At the time, he would also wander around his home to find landscapes to portray, but nothing was compared to his passion for painting the wonders of his garden. During this period, he painted the stunning artwork The Iris Garden at Giverny.
As an Impressionist, Monet was devoted to working in nature, or en plein air as the French call it. He felt the need to observe the natural effect of sunlight, and it’s optical effects on a landscape. At many times, the artist worked on multiple canvases at once, moving from one painting to another as the sun’s position changed. He was taught by fellow artists Eugene Boudin to retain the first impression of a scene. In 1862, Monet met other modern painters like Frederic Bazille, Alfred Sisley, and Pierre Auguste Renoir, when he began attending Charles Gleyre’s studio. This group of artists were the founders of the Impressionist movement and would regularly paint en plein air together in places like the Seine river.
The oil painting The Iris Garden at Giverny is an example of one the many portrayals Monet did of his blossoming garden. This landscape painting depicts a bundle of purple and pink irises that lead the viewer's eyes into vegetation in the distance. The artwork is mostly made of tonalities of green, making the colors of the flowers pop even more. A small road was painted in between the bushes, and the painted also portrays some trees with thin trunks in shades of brown, blue and purple.
The Impressionist’s love for nature was also inspired by the Japanese woodcut prints that came to Europe at the time. This exotic culture renewed the artists love for the outdoors. The use of vibrant colors, contours, and sometimes unusual compositions is also a reflex of the aesthetic influence of the Japanese art on modern European painters, like Monet.
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