In the 1890s, Monet developed a Japanese-style water garden around the pond at his home in Giverny. The garden became an ‘outside studio’ for the artist, and the water-lilies floating on the surface became the principal motif of his later paintings. In the painting, which fills the canvas, the pond becomes a world in itself, inspiring a sense of immersion in nature. At times verging on abstraction, the water-lily pictures are the culmination of Monet’s fascination with light and its changing effects on the natural environment.
2007 x 4267 mm
Oil paint on canvas
Date of work
On long term loan from the National Gallery 1997
Born in Paris in 1840, Monet was a French impressionist painter who mainly painted landscape subjects. He entered the studio of Gleyre in Paris after being discharged from the French Army. He took a major part in the foundation of impressionism, and exhibited with the impressionists 1874-9 and again in 1882. In 1890 his success grew when he began to paint a series of canvases of the same motif: Haystacks, Poplars, Rouen Cathedral, Water-Lilies etc.
He was the leader of impressionist movement in France; in fact, the movement’s name, IMPRESSIONISM, is derived from his Impression, Sunrise (1873)
. Throughout his long career, and especially in his series from the 1890s onwards, he explored the constantly changing quality of light and colour in different atmospheric conditions and at various times of day.