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Monet and the Lady in the Garden
More from Claude Monet
One afternoon as my husband and I went to the nearby gardens in Russia. There was a fantastic atmosphere, just like in Antonioni's film, Blow-Up, where the main character finds himself absorbed in the hissing sound of wind-shaken leaves in the park. I stepped up to the shadow of a tree and was just standing there observing the unbearably bright landscape. Sparkling fountains, children on pretty benches and everywhere the green shining grass. And it happened.
How often we hear, this or that man is great, his legacy is precious, he discovered new lands, wrote tons of poetry. In most cases, we don't think much about that person at all, yet we are compelled to repeat the banality about their greatness.
When I lifted my eyes I saw treetops bathed in sunlight. And that tableau tallied with another one in my mind, it was like a still picture overlapped another. Yes, that's it! “The Lady in the Garden”, by Claude Monet, the first impressionist. You see the same fresh light playing on the leaves as if you're standing right there, in a Paris garden in 1867. I was amazed. I had always kind of liked Monet and impressionists in general but never really thought much about them.
Before I followed someone else's words and now I understood it sincerely. It gave me the inclination therefore, not being an art critic, to talk about the painting with my own heart. I see now how the Impressionists changed the mood of paintings and brought sunshine in. Yes, you can admire precise drawing and social bearing in old school paintings but rarely did they touch you at a first glance with their colors. For example, Raphael or Brueghel - you can examine the thin trees in the distance or small seemingly unimportant figures on the landscape, but it's so unreal, you're consciously in a different world. Impressionists not only captured real scenes but also enabled us to feel these real places, believe them with our sensations rather than mind.
Later I was privileged to see this same painting at the Hermitage in all it‘s glory. And it brought my emotions back. In fact I bought an oil-painted copy of it and now it hangs in our living room.
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