Flower Joy at the Royal Academy – Painting the Garden Monet to Matisse

Painting the modern gardenSadly, this visually stunning exhibition at The Royal Academy in London, has just finished  So, why have you waited until now to tell us about it, I hear you say.

A fair point, but in my defence  I have only very recently seen it.  But having seen it and enjoyed it so much I couldn’t not write about it!

Painting The Modern Garden, Monet to Matisse” is /was the most stunning collection of over 120 works of art all inspired by the garden in its many glorious forms.

“Using the work of Monet as a starting point, this landmark exhibition examines the role gardens played in the evolution of art from the early 1860s through to the 1920s.”

When I visited the exhibition it was extremely busy so rather than following the recommended route through the galleries I wandered at will, to those paintings which were less crowded or particularly caught my eye.  Initially I thought I was going to frustrated by the crowds.  I don’t like to be jostled when viewing art.  I like to wander and absorb at my own pace.  As it turned out the paintings were so beautiful that I was able to forget the crowds and lose myself in the wonder of them all.

As you would imagine this exhibition is not short on colour.  In fact I would go as far as to say it is a beautiful and exuberant explosion of colour.  Every wall was alive with paintings of flowers and trees and nature in all its celebrated glory.  So many of these paintings were recognisable.  For me that was one of the things that made it so exciting. To be able to stand in a room full paintings that I have had posters or postcards of at various times in my life was just a little bit incredible.  To be so close to so many masterpieces and to gaze on them at will was very special.

Monets waterlillies

Water Lillies 1914-1915 Claude Monet

There were so many beautiful paintings in this exhibition, that it would be impossible to pick a favourite.  The Monet’s of course were an absolute treat.  Monet fan or not, you couldn’t fail to be impressed by the sheer number, scale and beauty of his paintings.  I loved becoming lost among Monet’s tranquil waterlilies.

During the early months of the first world war, many civilians, including Monet’s own family fled Giverney en masse, Monet refused to leave.  He was devoted to his gardens and his work and saw it as his patriotic duty to continue to paint.

“As for me I’m staying here all the same and if those savages must kill me, it will be in the middle of my canvases, in front of all my life work”  Claude Monet 1st May 1914

I loved Klimts jewel like mosaics of flowers as shown below

Cottage Garden Klimt 1905-1907

Cottage Garden Klimt 1905-1907

Emil Nolde, a German Expressionist is an artist I had never met before this exhibition, but have since fallen for in a big way.  I love the boldness of his colours and the size and scale of the blooms he paints

Peonies and Irises Emile Nolde 1936

Peonies and Irises Emile Nolde 1936

This exhibition was full of some of the biggest names in art, but  above all it was joyful and happy and life affirming, and it made me want to fill my house with flowers.

Image 1 The Metropolist, 2 The Royal Academy, 3,4, via pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *