The superb exhibition From Monet to Soulages: Paths to modernity (1800-1980) offers each visitor what I consider to be the very symbol of what is finest in art, a “gem” of the impressionist period. 

Claude Monet no longer has to impress, but he still surprises us. This tondo is the first work of his mythical Nympheas series of waterlilies. 

In 1907, Monet himself spoke of the revelation of enchantment in his pond when he came to understand the spectacle of nature being played out before his eyes. As a spectator we cannot but admire the genius, the deftness, the talent… the fairyland so wonderfully represented.

What should we think in the face of such vision? Is it really necessary to even think? The colours are soft, the shapes harmonious, like a symphony orchestrated by a Master (and not just any Master). I see this painting as an ode to contemplation, to meditation, as a parenthesis in the day, a parenthesis engraved in the canvas. 

I want to stay in front of the painting; to see all the details, to remember them, to record each colour fading into another, each little crack left by time, but time standing still. I want to feel again and again this sensation of butterflies in the stomach, this indescribable feeling in the throat making me utter the finest words I can imagine… THE artistic shock… 

I like to think of the vision of Monet the instant he painted: the wind that blows, the light which dims and then returns, the rain perhaps which threatens. It’s a face to face with our self, with our feelings, with nature, with beauty… an experience not to be missed, where we must take the time to observe and to gaze.  

Come along to let yourself go, and love and appreciate this moment of serenity. 

Violette Gatty, 21 years old, a student passionate about art.

“I took some time to understand my waterlilies …. I grew them without thinking of painting them … You are not taken in by a landscape in just one day… And then, all of a sudden, I had the revelation of the enchantment in my pond. I took up my palette. Since then I have hardly had another model."
Claude Monet