Impressionism at Its Core in Claude Monet's Famous Paintings of Waterlilies

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Art Critique

“Water Lilies”, by Claude Monet, was painted with oil based paints in 1916. During this same time period World War I was occurring and Albert Einstein was completing his theory of relativity. The painting depicts a nature scene of a pond which reeds and water lilies are living in. The first thing I notice when I look at the piece are the lilies because they are pink while the rest of the picture consists of cool colors. The warm colors such as pink stand out against the cool colors which make up majority of the painting. The shapes of the objects in the picture are very wispy and fluffy looking, creating a soft tone. None of the lines are perfect lines, they are curved and abstract- not having any particular shape. The ripples on the water give the picture a sense of texture. In this picture the brightness indicates it is daytime, because otherwise you would not be able to see the vivid colors of the lilies. The overall visual effect this picture gives off is relaxing. The smooth lines and soft colors are pleasing to look at.

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Monet has used an overall cool color theme to give the painting a relaxing feel, while the bright pink contrasts with these colors and attracts the attention in on the water lilies floating in the pond. The colors create a serene, calming mood that flow together. The lines are not all one size or stroke, they are more wispy and free flowing, which allows the viewers eyes to flow around the picture from most important to least important aspect. I think the lines are a huge part of this painting because it creates a sense of fluidity, which is great when trying to represent water. The textures of the ripples on the water also give the water a more naturalistic feel because in nature water is flowing and moving constantly. The light used in the painting gives it a feeling of depth by showing the differences in the different parts of the water and by creating a reflection of the light shining off the water. The principles of design were definitely achieved in this painting because Monet used great shape, line, light, and contrast principles to help make his painting more aesthetically pleasing. The flowing motion of the shapes and lines creates an attraction to the lilies in the water, and the contrast in warm/cool colors further enhances the attention that was intended to be brought upon the lilies.

I believe that Monet’s statement in this work was to depict the beauty that is hidden in nature. I think he wanted to depict how beautiful things are and they often go unnoticed. The main focus being the lilies really makes me think that. To me it means that there is beauty all around us, sometimes we just fail to see it. Even in the most simple things, like water lilies floating atop a pond can contain the utmost beauty. I love nature and I think it’s really important that we appreciate it and are inspired from it, so I think it’s a really great painting so show how beautiful simple things like this really are. I feel happiness and tranquility when looking at this picture because the lines and colors are just so relaxing that there is no way you could see this painting and feel angry about anything. The water lilies could definitely represent something to Monet, I would assume some aspect of his life that makes him happy and stands out amongst everything else, perhaps a loved one. I think that the only way Monet could express his feelings towards the lilies in this painting was to depict them as delicate, soft, yet beautiful. This could also relate to the symbolism behind the water lilies. I think Monet created this artwork to show not only his appreciation for nature, but a deeper meaning of an appreciation he has for someone he loves in his own personal life.

I think this painting has a lot of value, the nature scene really brings attention to how beautiful, yet simple everyday things can be. I think we can use nature as an inspiration for a lot of things in our lives including art and writing. This painting could definitely benefit others, not even to be inspiring, but just to make them feel happy and warm when they see the picture. The importance of nature and love is really profound in this piece because it shows that simplicity can be beautiful. The principles and elements of design combine beautifully to create a painting that is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. I think this could inspire others to notice the world around them and incorporate these elements into their works. The only thing I think could be improved is the depth at the top of the painting and how the water plants seem to be growing down, rather than appearing like a reflection on the water, which they were meant to be. If the painting had of been a little taller Monet could have had a small portion of the bank to show that the plants were growing there and reflecting on the sun-lit waters. Overall, I think this painting is beautiful and it simply makes me happy.

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