Monet's Masterpieces from the Musée Marmottan Monet: An immersion into the world of the father of Impressionism in Padua

Padua doubles up: alongside "French Moderns" at Palazzo Zabarella, the Altinate - San Gaetano Cultural Center responds with another internationally flavored exhibition, bringing the most intimate Monet to the city of the Scrovegni Chapel.

Claude Monet, Londra. Il Parlamento. Riflessi sul Tamigi. 1905, Olio su tela, 81,5x92. © Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris

From March 9th until July 14th, "Monet: Masterpieces from the Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris" brings to Padua all the magic of light and colors that made the Master of Impressionism universally renowned.

The works from the Musée Marmottan displayed in Padua are part of Monet's personal collection, which he jealously guarded in his home in Giverny and never wanted to part with. They are part of his inner world and reflect his emotions, his connections with other artists who inspired him, and his vision of the world.

It is not a coincidence, as reminded by the three curators, among the world's foremost experts on Monet, Sylvie Carlier, Marianne Mathieu, and Aurélie Gavoille, that the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the first historic exhibition of Impressionist painters involves the city where Giotto created one of his masterpieces, now UNESCO World Heritage, and a land just a few kilometers from Venice, a city of light, water, and reflected impressions. In particular, the final part of the exhibition, dedicated to the most intimate Monet, delves into the French Master's pursuit of a floating world of light, transcending the landscapes that were the protagonists of his early paintings.

But let's start from the beginning. The exhibition does not only present works from the famous cycles created by Monet in his tireless pursuit of light in his Garden at Giverny, but it encompasses his entire human and artistic journey, starting from the beginning, traveling with Monet, to Holland, Norway, London, and concluding with his most intimate production of the last 25 years.

Monet and his beginnings
In the first rooms, Monet's life story unfolds through some portraits of him made by his artist friends, such as the splendid portrait by Pierre Auguste Renoir in 1873, when Monet was 33 years old, or some watercolors by Eugène Boudin, a painter whom the young Monet looked upon with some disdain when he encountered his works where he himself sold his caricatures for a few coins, and later became a collector.

In this section, there are also paintings that testify to his exploration of light in depicting the landscapes and figures he portrayed, with those fast brushstrokes that became emblematic of the Impressionist style and en plein air painting. We can admire works created between 1870 and 1875, such as "The Beach at Trouville," from the summer of 1870 when his wife Camille Doncieux and their first son Jean joined him in Trouville, a fashionable seaside resort during the Second Empire. An emblematic work of light, space, and composition, themes that Monet would explore throughout his life. Or "The Train in the Snow: The Locomotive" from 1875, a period when Monet painted a series of sixteen snowy landscapes, including the one exhibited here. The train theme foreshadows the views of the Gare Saint-Lazare that Monet would paint in 1877.

Snow, before water, was another element that fascinated Monet for its ability to reflect light and "color" with the different tones of the light spectrum, becoming one of the subjects of his pictorial research during his numerous travels.

Other iconic subjects of this period are also present in the exhibition, such as "Promenade near Argenteuil," from 1875. In 1871, Monet moved to the village of Argenteuil, about ten kilometers from Paris and a Sunday destination for Parisians, where Monet could, for the first time, provide his wife Camille and son Jean with a house and a garden. He himself could explore the surrounding landscapes and here he focused mainly on views and portraits of Camille and Jean in the garden or countryside. There are four versions of this landscape, different depending on the time of year. In the other three, there is a single figure in the distance.... read the rest of the article»

Monet, Traveler
Snow, as mentioned, but also water reflections and the mist in the atmosphere. These are some of the subjects that Monet discovers during his travels. In the exhibition, we find three snowy landscapes, created in Norway, in Christiania, present-day Oslo, in 1895. His snow, which is never white but contains red, green, yellow, and which becomes his obsession because, in his opinion, he never manages to truly capture its impression, to grasp its chromatic effect. As he himself says, "that snow that dresses in sky and sun."

From 1905, there is the painting of the English Parliament in London, which we reported at the beginning of the article, whose architecture becomes an impression emerging from the mist and the light reflections on the Thames water. The painting was made during his second stay in London, when Monet painted various views of Parliament, from the opposite bank. His is a synthetic and spectral version, taken backlit in the late afternoon, at sunset. Thirty-seven views of the Thames were presented from May 9th to June 4th at the Durand-Ruel gallery. The exhibition had a significant impact, although a journalist had instilled doubt in collectors that Monet had partly worked from photographs.

The last Monet, the intimacy of Giverny
The third part of the exhibition focuses on the last 25 years of Monet's life, when he painted in his splendid garden at his home in Giverny. "My garden is the most beautiful work of art I have ever created." So reads one of the rooms dedicated to the cycles of water lilies, agapanthus, and irises. In these works, we find Monet's ability to express the "feelings" of light and space in his canvases. Not surprisingly, this creative phase of the Impressionist Master has been compared to American Abstract Expressionism.

In the masterpieces of Giverny, Monet's "eye" is even more perceptible, a term coined by his friend Paul Cézanne, referring to the immense, immediate, and extraordinary ability that the artist had to transpose color tones, the most imperceptible nuances, into his paintings.

There is a reversal of the pictorial paradigm of young Monet. Back then, he painted small-scale landscapes and large spaces. In his later years, Monet instead created large canvases, sometimes monumental in size, whose subjects were small details of his garden, in a constant search for light materializing on the surfaces of water and vegetation. Truly splendid are the works exhibited here that allow the viewer to fully immerse themselves in Monet's fascinating micro-world, which becomes a window to another dimension.

The exhibition layout. The immersive rooms
The exhibition was created with top-notch scientific support, embodied in the figures of the three French curators already mentioned at the beginning, but is also expressed through engaging and emotional elements

Pubblicato il March 09, 2024

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