Monday, April 6, 2009

Home Alone with Monet

Say what you will about Toledo, but at least we have lots of museums within a few hours.

So if you're left home alone in Toledo, left to your own devices, you could hop in your car and within minutes or an hour be staring at something very fine like the above Monet.

This Monet surprised me a lot as it feels cold to look at it. He painted this in 1880 at Vetheuil, 30 miles north west of Paris along the Seine. His debts were high and his wife was gravely ill. The winter of 1879 was particularly cold and harsh and he painted the break up of the ice on the river- over and over and over. He was fascinated by the changes in the ice even in the bitter cold.
During the previous two years he painted many happier things around Vetheuil including the Cathedral, but now he painted in despair. Not only was the winter harsh, but Monet had just lost his wife Camille to cancer in September 1879. He painted with a bleak, unrelenting grief and now harsh, cold reality. He painted a final portrait of Camille on her death bed, covered in a violet shroud.

This painting of Camille was for Monet alone. He never sold it and it is now owned by the Musée d`Orsay in Paris and they rarely lend it out for exhibition. Monet said "Painting should simply be the expression of what I have personally felt."

So there it was, on a cold, wet Sunday afternoon that we stumbled upon the painting with the broken ice in the gallery. The blues, grays and greens, the stark lonely trees on the riverbank revealing a cold, unrelenting landscape and a transcendence of human thought and a pain I had not expected to feel through the canvas coming from the man who painted it long ago.


Sparky ♥ ∞ said...

I love to tour museums because I have no Monet.


We're in LaFayette, Lousy-anna tonight. Are we there yet? :o)

Anonymous said...

Oh my stars - the painting of Camille is so exquisite! What an amazing love Monet must have had for his beautiful muse!

I love galleries, and I am envious of your day! Thank you for sharing.

JBA said...

Sparky:Any Po Boy sandwiches in sight?

Audrey: I forgot to mention that the first painting is at the University of Michigan. Small museum, large WOW factor!

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Thank-you for this post. I love Monet.

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

Sparky, have a Hurricane for me. Audrey, yes what an amazing love, that painting is somehow filled with longing and Jennifer...lead on to the museums and the vodka bar...