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“Water Lilies” by Claude Monet (National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo)

“Water Lilies” by Claude Monet

“Water Lilies” by Claude Monet portrays the water-lily pond, from Monet’s garden in Giverny, with the sky and sun reflecting off the lily pond. Monet attempted to capture the continually changing qualities of light, colour, water, sky, and lilies by dissolving all the elements in:

“the refuge of a peaceful meditation in the centre of a flowering aquarium.”

Claude Monet painted nearly 250 painting in his series of “Water Lilies”.  The constant changes in the water surface, based on the direction of the sun during the day, the changing seasons and the changing weather continued to sustain Monet’s interest in his water lilies pond. The paintings depict Monet’s flower garden at his home in Giverny and were the main focus of Monet’s artistic production during the last thirty years of his life. Many of the works were painted while Monet suffered from cataracts. His “Water Lilies” paintings can be found in many museums across the globe.

"Water Lilies" by Claude Monet - Joy of Museums - National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo - 2

Close-up details of this work, which was created nearly twenty years after he started his water lilies series of paintings 

Oscar-Claude Monet was a founder of French Impressionist painting, and the term “Impressionism” is derived from the title of his painting Impression, “soleil levant” or “Impression, Sunrise,” which was exhibited in 1874. Monet adopted a method of painting in which he painted the same scene many times to capture the changing of light and the passing of the seasons. Monet is known for having produced a series of paintings on versions of the same subject and perspective. Examples include his series of the “Valley of the Creuse” series and his famous series of “Haystacks” and “Water Lilies” paintings.

From 1883 Monet lived in Giverny, where at his home, he developed a garden landscape which included the lily ponds that would become the subjects of his best-known works. In 1899 he began painting the water lilies, first with a Japanese bridge as a central feature, and later in the series of large-scale paintings, with the water lilies as the main feature. This series occupied him for the last 20 years of his life.

Water Lilies

  • Title:                Water Lilies
  • Artist:              Claude Monet
  • Year:                1916
  • Medium:         Oil on canvas
  • Museum:        National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo

Claude Monet


“Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand as if it were necessary to understand when it is simply necessary to love.”
Claude Monet


Photo Credit: 1) JOM