The Musée de l’Orangerie is one of those places you must visit if you’re travelling to Paris. It is a small museum tucked away in a corner of the Tuileries Gardens, just across the river from the Musée d’Orsay. This museum was a must–see on my list of places to visit in Paris this summer because a) I didn’t get the chance to see it the last time I was in Paris, and b) Claude Monet’s Nymphéas (or Water Lilies) are located there.
If you haven’t already guessed, Claude Monet’s Nymphéas are a collection of paintings depicting water lilies, inspired by the flowers found in Monet’s very own garden in Giverny. Monet went through a phase (which lasted 30 years) in which he mainly painted these beautiful flowers and his garden pond. To think that someone would dedicate 30 years of their life to the depiction of flowers, gardens, and ponds is astoundingly beautiful in my mind. You can tell that Monet was in love with nature and all of its beauty just by looking at his paintings.
“I am following Nature without being able to grasp her, I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.” – Claude Monet
Monet’s Nymphéas are kept in two oval-shaped rooms. In each room, there are 4 paintings that stretch across the walls, covering almost 180 degrees of the surface space. The lighting in these rooms is particularly beautiful, as you can see the sunlight being filtered in from the skylight above. Each of the paintings are framed with beautiful wooden frames, which perfectly contrast the natural colours of the water that Monet depicts. The experience of being in this space is absolutely magical.
The rich and beautiful blue colours of the water unfold before you. As you walk through the gallery, you can’t help but feel enveloped by the Water Lilies, immersed in all of their beauty. Above, you can see a photograph of one of my favourite paintings in the entire series. It is my favourite because this painting in particular seems to move. It looks as though the refection of the clouds dance in the shimmering turquoise water, and come to life right before your eyes.
“I will do water – beautiful, blue water.” – Claude Monet
Seeing Monet’s Water Lilies in person was a magnificent and magical experience. All of the colours Monet chose to paint with were bright and lively, and blended beautifully on the giant canvases. His broad brushstrokes are clearly visible in his paintings as well, which makes the entire experience that much more surreal. It seem as though Monet is there in my presence as I admire his artwork.
“Eventually, my eyes were opened, and I really understood nature. I learned to love at the same time.” – Claude Monet
If you would like to take a better look at the Water Lilies exhibited at Musée de l’Orangerie, please click here for a virtual tour of the gallery. I hope you enjoyed seeing Monet’s Water Lilies through my eyes. I will end this blog post with one of my favourite Monet quotes, which captures my affinity for flowers quite well:
“I must have flowers, always and always.” – Claude Monet
All the best,