Seeing “The Truth of Nature” Through Monet

The Denver Art Museum’s Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature offers a captivating assortment of Monet’s impressionist paintings.

Authored by Martha Brinkman

Courtesy of Denver Art Museum.

“You have to know how to seize just the right moment in a landscape instantaneously, because that particular moment will never come again, and you’re always wondering if the impression you got was truthful.” -Claude Monet

This quote flashed on the screen as we were ushered into Truth of Nature, which features paintings by impressionist artist Claude Monet. With rooms representing the locations Monet traveled to, the exhibit feels like a tour through Europe through his eyes—and palette. We recommend taking advantage of the audio guides available: Angelica Daneo and Christoph Heinrech enthusiastically offer details about Monet’s life, inspiration, and art. Here are a few unique highlights not to miss.

In Paris: The Tuileries (1876)

This painting, one of a handful that depict an urban setting, sets the viewer at a high vantage point. This is an interesting contrast to the landscape and natural settings that are featured in most of Monet’s paintings. 

In Holland: The Landing Stage (1871)

This painting sits among scenes of the windmills and port of Zandaam. The well-dressed figures lend the piece a lively atmosphere, almost as if we’re witnessing a scene in a movie. 

In Vethéuil: Vethéuil in Summer (1879)

Among depictions of wheat fields and a medieval church is a scene that allows the viewer to see the city from across the river. This is a wonderful piece that showcases Monet’s fascination with reflection and the real-world colliding. 

In Winter: France and Norway: Skaters at Giverny (1899)

Get a feel for the season with Monet’s vivid winter scenes, in which he utilized snow as he did water, to create the impression of reflection. Tiny figures skating on a frozen pond blend with the striking, leafless trees. The painting has movement and energy. 

House of the Customs Officer, Varengeville by Claude Monet. Courtesy of Denver Art Museum.

On the Northern Coasts: House of the Customs Officer, Varengeville (1882)

In the room dedicated to the coastal scenes Monet so loved, we get a darker color palette than the other paintings. Monet described his attachment to the sea as “sinister as Hell, but quite superb.” 

In Italy: View of Bordighera (1884)

Italy offered Monet a view of various hues of pinks and blues. In this painting, the viewer looks down at the town of Bordighera, surrounded by the natural foliage.  

In London: Hyde Park, London (1871)

Monet was fascinated with London’s fog, and stepping into this room, we felt it! This painting features figures strolling in the park, surrounded by greenery and nature. 

Water-lilies and Japanese Bridge by Claude Monet. Courtesy of Denver Art Museum.

In Monet’s Gardens: Water-lilies and Japanese Bridge (1899) and The Water-Lily Pond (1918)

Of course, no Monet exhibit would be complete without water-lilies, its beautiful finale. These are pivotal representations of Monet’s pull away from human subjects. Take your time throughout but make it a point to appreciate the variety of colors, reflections, and light that Monet’s final paintings offer. 

Details

The exhibit will run through Feb. 2, 2020. Timed-entry tickets start at $27 for nonmembers and  $5 for youth ages 6-18. To learn more about the exhibit and the museum, visit denverartmuseum.com.