I perhaps owe it to flowers that I became a painter – Monet
Claude Monet’s profound love for plants and gardens could not have been better described that in the way he portrayed them in his artwork. An avid horticulturist and one of the most notable gardens painters in the history of arts, his style of painting clearly evolved through his lifetime with finally placing him as one of the most prominent Impressionists.
Although Monet may be one of the first that come to mind, he is one among some other artists, that include Renoir, Cezanne, Pissarro, Manet, Sargent, Kandinsky, Van Gogh, Matisse, Klimt and Klee, who much like him, saw the beauty in a garden. Evidently, the symbiotic relationship between horticulture and painting, as shown by so many recognised artists, played a role in the evolution of the art through the years.
The Royal Academy of Arts dedicated a whole exhibition to this topic – Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse , bringing together works of so many notable painters of the late 19th and early 20th century, who all studied the subject of garden, but who were able to approach it in their own unique way. As expected, the exhibition portrays the evolution of the theme and the use of light, motifs, colours, design and ideas. Despite years that passed, the paintings still strongly resonate with modern audience.
Setting the paintings to signal broad artistic movements, besides social and political events, is perhaps an excellent pathway to uncover the garden’s role as a multifaceted theme. The exhibition walls depicting the artists’ gardens are a true marvel. For both the lovers of art and lovers of gardens, this is an exhibition not to miss.