292 staff share an appreciation for good design and find inspiration in many places. They might find it in textile patterns of weavers in Nova Scotia, or in the sculptures at the Walker Art Center, or in the detailing of a Harley Davidson engine. Whatever it is, 292ers bring that enthusiasm into their daily work.
This month, 292’s marketing coordinator, Natalie, shares what has inspired her for as long as she can remember: the art of Claude Monet.
If you ask me who the best artist of all time is, I would say Claude Monet. When I was in grade school, my art teacher would continuously try to get me to replicate Van Gogh, but I always rebelled and kept painting Monet. He is best known for his water lilies that are currently hanging in Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris, France. The breath-taking, oversized, room-spanning lilies is reason enough to be a world-famous artist, but Monet has another side to his work: architecture. A few of his lesser-known paintings feature beautiful depictions of architectural marvels throughout Europe.
Following Monet around Europe was a dream. There are 17 famous locations where Monet received his inspiration, and I have been to three: London, Paris, and Venice. These locations feature some of his inspirations for his most famous, architecturally-focused paintings.
London is the location of his most famous architecture paintings: Houses of Parliament, a collection of 19 paintings of the Palace of Westminster. This collection is great portrayal of what goes into an architectural marvel like the Palace. Monet painted all 19 paintings from the same location, of the same building, and from the same angle, but under different lighting and weather conditions. Although each painting is exquisite on its own, when looking at the collection, side by side, you’re able to recognize the full potential of the Palace. Typically, architecture is illustrated in a single moment, but through Monet’s paintings, he was able to show how movement surrounds the building and how people interact with the building. When traveling, I love to search for these paintings in different art museums because every time I see one, it brings me back to London.
Monet’s Paris was depicted in several paintings that showcase the elegant architecture that I had seen throughout the city. Many of the buildings remain seemingly unchanged from when Monet visited, including the Louvre, the Pont Neuf, and the Kensington Palace Gardens.
Many of Monet’s paintings are housed in Paris throughout many museums. One of his paintings from the Houses of Parliament—Sun Breaking Through the Fog, 1904—is housed in Musée d’Orsay, just across the river from his water lilies’ current home. When I saw the Houses of Parliament, Sun Breaking Through the Fog and the water lilies, it truly took my breath away because of his ability to add so much texture and life to a stationary painting.
Venice is a city that immediately captured Monet’s heart, as it did mine. He ultimately created 37 canvases of the captivating city. The paintings feature locations which still carry the beauty they did in the 1900’s, including San Giorgio, the Grand Canal, and Palazzo Ducale.
Monet created many paintings of the architecture in Venice in the same way he captured the Palace of Westminster—duplicate paintings of the same building, from the same angle, and under different lighting and weather conditions. His greatest fear of his Venice paintings was that he’d become a cliché due to the increasing popularity of the city, but he never did.
If you’d like a virtual experience of Monet’s water lilies, check out this 360 view of the paintings inside Musée de l’Orangerie.