Here’s a beautiful piece of rare footage of Monet painting in his famous gardens at Giverny.
The film was shot in the summer of 1915 when Monet was 74 years old. At this stage in his life Monet had lost both his second wife and eldest son and his eyesight was getting progressively worse due to cataracts. Howeever, despite his emotional and physical setbacks, Monet was to make the last 10 years of his life – he died in 1926 at the age of 86 – an extremely productive period in which he painted many of his most famous studies of water lilies.
The beginning of the film sees Monet and the film maker, Sacha Guitry – who also made films on Renoir and Rodin – talking with each other. Monet then begins painting a large canvas beside a lily pond. It’s a pity we don’t get to see the painting but it’s wonderful to see the great artist standing with his brush and a cigarette dangling from his lips, painting in his beautiful garden. A garden that was the source of much of his work.
And while we’re on the subject of Monet here are some of his famous quotes:
I do what I can to convey what I experience before nature and most often, in order to succeed in conveying what I feel, I totally forget the most elementary rules of painting, if they exist that is.
Every day I discover more and more beautiful things. It’s enough to drive one mad. I have such a desire to do everything, my head is bursting with it.
Critic asks: ‘And what, sir, is the subject matter of that painting?’ – ‘The subject matter, my dear good fellow, is the light.’
You’ll understand, I’m sure that I’m chasing the merest sliver of color. It’s my own fault. I want to grasp the intangible. It’s terrible how the light runs out. Color, any color, lasts a second, sometimes 3 or 4 minutes at most…
No one but myself knows the anxiety I go through and the trouble I give myself to finish paintings which do not satisfy me and seem to please so very few others.
It really is appallingly difficult to do something which is complete in every respect, and I think most people are content with mere approximations. Well, my dear friend, I intend to battle on, scrape off and start again…
I’ve done what I could as a painter and that seems to me to be sufficient. I don’t want to be compared to the great masters of the past, and my painting is open to criticism; that’s enough.
Think of me getting up before 6, I’m at work by 7 and I continue until 6.30 in the evening, standing up all the time, nine canvases. It’s murderous…
Via Open Culture
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