Dictionary of Art and Artists











Paintings


that Changed the World


 

  CONTENTS:          
  Lascaux Caves Manesse illuminated Massys Callot Friedrich Picasso
  Tutankhamen's tomb Lorenzetti Grunewald Rembrandt Constable Matisse
  Europa and Minotaur Karlstein Castle Baldung Claude Lorrain Delacroix Marc
  Banquet Tomb Limbourg brothers Altdorfer Velazquez Turner Kandinsky
  Pompeii Van Eyck Cranach Vermeer Ingres Monet
  Birth of Christianity Della Francesca Holbein Rigaud Manet Chirico
  Hagia Sophia Uccello Titian Watteau Burne-Jones Modigliani
  Book of Kells Mantegna Bruegel Canaletto Seurat Chagall
  St Benedict Botticelli Vicentino Boucher Van Gogh Kahlo
  Bayeux Tapestry Anonymous Arcimboldo Fragonard Toulouse-Lautrec Dali
  Donizo manuscript Durer El Greco Gainsborough Munch Ernst
  Liber Scivias Bosch Theodore de Bry John Trumbull Cezanne Hopper
  Carmina Burana Da Vinci Caravaggio David Gauguin Bacon
  Falcon Book Michelangelo Rubens Gros Degas Warhol
  Giotto Raphael Brouwer Goya Klimt  
             









From Lascaux to Warhol






Supreme art is a traditional statement of certain heroic and religious truth,
passed on from age to age, modified by individual genius,
but never abandoned.

William Butler Yeats


 

 

 


Down the Garden Path
 

Water-lilies at Giverny

 

 

When the water-lilies in the garden carry us from the surface of the water to the wandering clouds of infinite space, we take leave of the earth - and even its heavens - to enjoy the highest harmony of things, which lies beyond our little planet.

Georges Clemenceau, Claude Monet, 1929

 

The former French president and statesman Georges Clemenceau described one of the water-lily pictures painted by his friend Claude Monet as "a water-meadow covered with flowers and leaves, ignited by the torch of the sun and glittering in the play of light between the sky and the surface of the water". Clemenceau had successfully coordinated French political and military efforts towards the end of the First World War and made a major contribution to the Allied victory. He raved about Monet's water-lily pictures calling them a "revelation". Between 1915 and 1924 he made it possible for Monet to paint eight enormous water-lily murals on the walls of the Orangerie in the Tuileries as a gift to the nation. Despite such encouragement, however, Claude Monet was not surrounded by distinguished promoters and patrons from the outset. On the contrary, his work entitled Impression, soleil levant inspired the critic Louis Leroy to coin the derogatory term "Impressionists" for an entire group of painters whose work he did not like. For decades Monet was almost destitute. Not until art dealer Theo van Gogh, Vincent's brother, managed to sell one of his paintings for 10,350 Francs — then an almost unheard of price for a work of contemporary art — was Claude Monet able to live fairly comfortably. Already middle-aged, he began to reap the fruits of his success.

Monet was even able to make a life-long dream come true. For seven years he had rented a country house in Giverny; now he was able to buy it and lay out a garden of flowers and shrubs. In 1895 and 1896 he successfully negotiated the purchase of several neighbouring plots of land — including a pond — which he planted with a profusion of weeping willows, irises, rhododendrons and water-lilies. An avid landscape gardener, he was inspired by Japanese woodcuts, which were by now sought after on the European art market, especially in France and England. Monet was so fond of his estate that his chief preoccupation for the remaining thirty-six years of his life was painting views of his gardens. As a young man he had always painted out of doors to capture the light and atmosphere and the interplay of colour and reflection. The six gardeners Monet employed in old age took care of his paradise, leaving him free to paint it and touch up the paintings in his studio. Water-lilies were his obsession: between 1903 and 1908 he painted forty-eight pictures of them, which he exhibited in Paris in 1909. He sought eternity in painting, or so his fleeting glimpse of it would seem to intimate.

 


Claude Monet
(1840—1926)
Water-Lilies
 


Claude Monet
(1840—1926)
Water-Lilies
 


Claude Monet
(1840—1926)
Water-Lilies
 


Claude Monet
(1840—1926)
Water-Lilies
 


Claude Monet
(1840—1926)
Water-Lilies
 


Claude Monet
(1840—1926)
Water-Lilies

 

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