The Water-Lily Pond, 1899, Claude Monet
Another gallery I had the opportunity to visit was the National Art Gallery, I visited the gallery with the intent to see Monet: The Water Garden at Giverny. There were at total of six paintings by Monet all the images painted of the garden he created in Paris. The paintings close up are beautiful and atmospheric, viewers are able to see and appreciate Monet’s original technique and style of painting. Each painting shows the waterlily garden from different perspectives and lights, my favourite of all the pieces was ‘The Waterlily Pond’ which is a painting I had been hoping to see up close for some time. Monet’s creativity can be seen through each carefully considered colour and brush stroke, the images add to the historic painting collection in the national art gallery. Other famous works include pieces by Van Gogh and Seurat as well as more traditional paintings by Rembrandt and Vermeer. The national gallery illustrates the development of painting style and subject matter through history. As viewers walk through the gallery they become captivated by hundreds of paintings depicting key moments and people in history, or the world and viewpoint of a painter during a particular period of time. In Monet’s painting we see a carefully constructed garden through the eyes of the artist, similar to Van Gogh’s sunflower painting. The more traditional style of paintings like that of Paul Delaroche are particularly captivating and unsettling. His painting ‘ The Execution of Lady Jane Grey’ seemed to draw in crowds because of the brutality and the un nerving atmosphere the painting created. Delaroche painted this image hundreds of years after Lady Jane Grey’s execution, it illustrates Lady Jane as an innocent victim having only been 16 when she was executed. This painting like many in the national gallery help viewers understand key moments in history though the strong, detailed visuals as well as the accompanying descriptions. As well as giving an insight into history, the paintings provide a huge inspiration for those interested in art. Monet’s ‘The Water- Lily Pond’ and Delaroche’s ‘The Execution of Lady Jane Grey’ were both painted in the 1800’s yet what the artists have chosen to use as subject matter are complete opposites. This highlights the painters unique perspectives one illustrates history and the other is more personal showing the view being gazed upon at the exact moment it is being painted. Monet’s image is from observation whereas Delaroche’s is from knowledge of the event and imagination. This inspires people to be creative with art and explore different themes and style as in art there is no wrong answer, it is about what the artist wants to show the world and how. As a whole the works on display at the national gallery show diversity, originality and the importance of art and documentation. Many of the paintings on display were produced when photography did not exist – without these paintings we would not be able to visualise key moments and people throughout history.
‘The Execution of Lady Jane Grey’, 1833, Paul Delaroche
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