You are on page 1of 3

Unity in

-Common background (The turquoise waters)


-Colour symbolism (Eg for a piece of scenery, green would naturally represent nature and
also brings calm to the waters the water lilies are floating in)
-Repetition of shape and colour (Claude Monet repeats the pattern of water lilies floating in
the pond and the colour of the them)
ABSTRACT:
- In 1899 Monet painted twelve canvases, mostly square-format, of the pond in different light
conditions but from the same vantage point; a further six paintings, in which he shifted his
position to include the left side of the bridge, followed in 1900. In these works he celebrates
his garden of massed flowering plants, with the water visible through the leaves and flowers,
showing reflections of the sky, and of the willows, reeds and other foliage around the pond.
- In Waterlily pond green harmony, from his first extended group of paintings of his water
garden, Monet compresses the space. He uses the Japanese bridge to anchor his
composition but the bridge is truncated so that it no longer links the banks, appearing instead
to levitate above the pond.3 Its arch bisects the canvas, the upper half rendered in an array of
greens, grey-blue and pale yellows, while in the lower half he uses a tapestry of pale blues,
greens and pinks to convey the waterlilies. The surface of the pondthe horizontal marks
and small dabs of the waterlilies and pads interrupted by vertical strokes of greens, yellows
and white of the reflections of the vegetation aboveseems almost thick enough to walk over.
There is only the slightest suggestion of sky, as Monet deftly closes off the background, and
all sides of the scene. Along the bottom edge of the canvas, patches of scumbled maroon and
violet paintand a fringe of green grass down the right sidesuggest the bank of the pond.
In later series Monet foregoes the bridge, banks, and indeed any material context for the
pond, in order to concentrate on the surface of the water and the reflections within.
Monet used a lot of complementary colors he loved from his earlier paintings in these panels.
The brushwork defined the subjects he painted; while clouds were dissipating swirls, the
waterlilies were solid colors
- Filling the canvas, the surface of the pond becomes a world in itself, inspiring a sense of
immersion in nature. Monet's observations of the changing patterns of light on the surface of
the water become almost abstract.
-Closely observed, each canvas featured nothing more than a span of water and a few
blossoms, brightly painted against the muted tones of the lily pads and the surface of the
pond. Some views included reflections of the trees, recalling the subtle motif that graced the
series he was painting of the Seine in the delicate light of the morning. He chose more vivid
exhuberant hues, introducing reds and violets where only the most delicate pinks had
rpevailed. He focused his attention on the left bank, moving only slightly from canvas to
canvas and he set the bridge as a stable element, arcing just above the centre of the canvas
and spanning the right side of the composition. More lush than before the heavily laden
branches of the trees and the massed flowers and grasses on the bank suggest the inherant
vitality of the the natural world. Water lilies feature blossoms as only one element of an overall
view, they intermingle with the reflections of both clouds and trees and are often represented
by dabs of pure pigment on a pond which is painted with a smooth and even brush stroke - to
represent the still or gentle movement of the pond's surface. Overall, the paintings of water
lilies vary in size - he changed the sizes and shapes of the canvases on which he worked.
- The fresh greens of the foliage evoke an early summer's day.
- The paintings are characterized by a broad, sweeping style and depend almost entirely on
color as he was going blind with cataract.
- The Impressionists, and Monet more than anyone, wanted to transform Nature herself into a
workshop and to erase the distinction between the sketch, the result of direct observation,
and the picture, the synthesis of the whole creative process. Thus Monet's correspondence
abounds in complaints about changes in the weather. He is brought to despair by rain, winds
and inconsistent light, all of which hamper his work, and yet at the same time it is Nature's
very changeability that is so attractive to him. This is why in all 10 canvas, the lighting slightly
differs from one to another to showcase the inconsistent light.
- Monet turned towards no extraneous influence, experienced no impulse from without, but
rather followed the logic of his own artistic development, which drove him to a continual
intensification of his own experimentation. This tendency had always been characteristic of

Monet, but his perception of Nature as a unity had remained constant, always maintaining a
harmonious equilibrium as he represented her particular characteristics. In the 1890s and
1900s, however, Monet's experiments with light and colour frequently became almost an end
in themselves and, as a result, his harmonious perception of Nature began to disappear.
- This optimistic view of the world was matched by his palette which, once freed of
conventional somberness, began to glow with bright, sunny colours. The expanses re-created
in his paintings were filled with light and air, which demonstrated his astonishing ability to
perceive Nature as a combination of many variable elements. The texture of his paintings
became particularly diverse, created by multitudes of mobile and vibrant strokes.
- Here, the sky has disappeared from the painting; the lush foliage rises all the way to the
horizon, and space is flattened by the decorative arch of the bridge. Our attention is focused
onto the painting itself and held there, not drawn into the scene depicted. In later lily pond
paintings, even more of the setting evaporates, and the water's surface alone occupies the
entire canvas. Floating lily pads and mirrored reflections assume equal stature, blurring
distinctions between solid objects and transitory effects of light. Monet had always been
interested in reflections, seeing their fragmented forms as a natural equivalent for his own
broken brushwork.
- The painting depicts an exquisite and serene landscape of a moss-covered bridge over a
pond of water lilies. Monets impressionist style gives the image a soft appearance that is less
assaulting to the senses, and thus more pleasing, than the sharp lines and edges of images
found in reality. The color palette is made up almost entirely of gentle shades of green and
yellow, with hints of light pinks, and deep purples and blues for flowers and shadows. The
painting is undeniably lovely. Despite the paintings obvious beauty, one would be hardpressed to find any sort of passion or any hint of burning, fervent emotion beneath Monets
brushstrokes. The landscape can only be appreciated for its visual beauty, and Monet can
only be lauded for his technical skill. Even the colors of the painting are timid and gentle, the
yellows made less bright by hints of green within and strokes of purple behind, as if
possessing no inner energy, gumption, or passion to reach their full potential. Even the
darkness is depicted in shades of deep violet and blue, as if afraid to be darker, to be
absolute black. The soft impressionist-style blurriness of the brushstrokes, too, seem to shy
away from the harsh and assaulting nature of corners and straight edges, in a desperate
effort to be as aesthetically pleasing as possible. But in achieving this aesthetic beauty, this
pinnacle of perfection, the artist seems to have dulled his creation into apathy and
submissiveness. There is no infectiousness or contagiousness in the painting at all; it is far
too perfect, too complacent, and therefore not remarkable enough to create a lasting
impression beyond its immediate obvious beauty, not extraordinary enough to generate
significant emotional response. Expresses polished sophistication in Monets painting and
much concern for aesthetic perfection. The Monet piece completely predictable and there is
absolutely nothing out of the ordinary in the image. The mundane landscape of Monets piece
is picturesque, comfortable, and familiar, The Monet piece is beautiful in the most traditional
and obvious sense. Everything in the image conforms to what we know should be, and it is
simply perfect. The blurred, softened edges of Monets painting have such gentle and refined
qualities as the softened edges actually increase its level of predictability; there is nothing
surprising, nothing assaulting or contagious. Monets piece leaves no room for physical or
interpretive subjectivity; it is and always will be nothing more than a beautiful landscape.
- Similarly, the aesthetically pleasing but emotionally dull qualities of Monets work build a
figurative wall between the audience and creator through which feeling cannot pass. The
common man or woman can never truly feel an emotional connection with an undeniably and
traditionally beautiful piece of art such as Monets The White Water Lilies, for all that one
can do with such a piece is admire in wonder, rather than understand, feel, and connect with,
such perfection. It is for this reason that Tolstoy downplays the value of aesthetic beauty,
implicitly rejecting the elitist view of art, the notion that a piece must be perfect to be
considered art, and that art can only be understood by those with a similar degree of
perfection. In the elitist view of art, just as there is physical glass between observer and
painting in a museum, there must be a separation between the common, flawed, person and
the perfection perceived to be art.

- Instead, his paintings have an immersive effect, enveloping the viewer and removing him or
her from the demands of time and space into a deeper, more spiritual realm.
It is not, as I have previously stated, the subject matter that absorbs the viewer into this
otherworldly quality, but rather Monets innovative treatment of form and space. According to
Simon Kelly, [Monet] developed a very different concept by removing the horizon line from
his images and placing the spectator in a low rather than an elevated vantage point, thereby
enhancing the immersive effect.10
Despite the fact that Monet was very aware of past artistic trends, the water lilies are a
demonstration of the innovative nature of his paintings. Monet combined the Impressionist
touchvisibility of the brushstroke, openness of the composition, emphasis on light and
effects of time, movement as an element of perception and experiencewith an increasingly
innovative treatment of the composition. His awareness of traditional landscape conventions
functioned not as a limiting agent, but as the foundation from which to deviate and evolve.
Monets water lilies are landscapes that are far from displaying the naturalism, even realism,
characteristic of landscape painting of the time. Monets water lily paintings are horizonless
landscapes, in which embodying a sense of immediacy and projecting subjective sensations
through the use of quick brushstrokes and luminous color took precedence above accurately
depicting nature.
- Eliminating the horizon and the sky, Monet focused on a small area of the pond, seen as a
piece of nature, almost a close-up. No details stand out and the overall impression is one of a
shapeless surface. The square format reinforces the neutrality of the composition. The lack of
a frame of reference gives the fragment an infinite, limitless feeling.Never was the artist's
brushstroke so free, so detached from the description of forms. A close-up view of the canvas
gives a feeling of total abstraction, because the brushstrokes are stronger than the
identification of the plants or their reflections. The viewer has to make a constant visual and
mental effort to piece together the landscape suggested in the painting. The unfinished
borders accentuate this insistence on painting as a surface covered with paint, which was not
lost on artists after the Second World War, particularly American painters exploring "abstract
landscapes" and "lyrical abstraction."
- Monet rejected the old artistic conventions of academic art and advocated for a style where
the natural world provided for new pictorial possibilities.
Impressionist painters no longer adapted the landscape to religious themes or mythological
figures, but allowed it to play the leading role in their canvases. Although their predecessors,
the Realists, had themselves deviated from academic styles of painting by choosing to depict
real places, rather than idealize nature, it was the Impressionists who truly embodied this
innovative fervor.
- In the very conception of the later Water-lilies one senses more the abstract work of intellect
than the desire to capture a direct perception
- The novelist remarked upon the brilliance of his brush, the simplicity and charm of his
landscapes flooded with sunlight.