Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The water lilies of Claude Monet

The Canadian painter, Robert Genn, visited the Musée de L’Orangerie in Paris where Monet’s famous water lily paintings, Les Nymphéas, are on display. There are eight of these huge, magnificent canvases which the artist painted when he was nearly blind with cataracts. The two paragraphs below are excerpts from Genn's blog of 15 December 2006, "The other eye". The unabridged blog you can read here:
I've been in these two rooms for so long that my stomach is concerned. A guard has already determined that I’m planning a heist. I’m sure she has alerted her supervisors. And then there's a man who has been in here almost as long as I. He moves from bench to bench. He has a round, friendly face and an honest smile. I find relief in pretending we have met. We talk in hushed, religious tones. He is Monsieur LeClerc, an actuary from Poitiers, in Paris for four days . . .
"I know nothing about art," he tells me, "But every time I come to Paris I enter these rooms. The collection was closed for some six years and Paris was very dull. These are sublime things. They are beyond words or expressions. They cannot be categorized or listed. In winter they take you to spring. They bring my boyhood and my home. Maybe God is in these things. What do I see? I see sadness and I see beauty. What else do we need? What else do we have?" His face is flushed, his eyes moist. "But then, who am I to say?" he asks. "I know nothing about art."  
May we all be blessed with those "other eyes" of Monsieur LeClerc.

Stay tuned . . .

No comments:

Post a Comment