Monet Is Power In This Excellent Exhibition At The National Gallery

Monet & Architecture, The National Gallery ★★★★☆

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 7 months ago

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Monet Is Power In This Excellent Exhibition At The National Gallery Monet & Architecture, The National Gallery 4
Such gorgeous colours in this Westminster sunset. © Kunsthaus Zürich

Is there an artist more loved than Claude Monet? Saying you don't love Monet's paintings is like saying you don't like chocolate — people look at you askance.

He's a crowdpleaser and The National Gallery's exhibition of his work is going to be incredibly popular, whatever the reviews say. Monet crops up in nearly every historic painting show and we have many of his great works in our public galleries, but we were shocked to find out there hasn't been an exclusively Monet exhibition in London for more than twenty years... until now. With that in mind, it's time to show me the Monets.

The light is so perfect we can feel that sun on our face. © Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA

Lest we forget what a wonderful painter he was, this show is rammed full of beautiful works. The sun shines down on some villas at a Mediterranean coastal resort and Monet captures the light perfectly — we can almost feel the heat of the sun upon our face. If we try to imagine the perfect postcard image, we still find that Monet has produced an even more gorgeous scene than our mind's eye can muster.

Monet was a massive fan of London and as we gaze at the Houses of Parliament through the fog, we imagine being wrapped up in the misty tendrils on a winter's day on the Thames foreshore. As the sunset lights the sky we shield our eyes from the dazzling colours. Monet doesn't just recreate a landscape; he transports us there.

Monet captures the beauty of Venice. Nahmad Collection, Monaco. © Photo courtesy of the owner

It's easy to think of Monet's beautiful seas and skies, but the theme of this show is architecture. The Venetian churches, the bridge over a garden, the cathedral at Rouen — these were all architectural elements that Monet wove into his scenes and led us to different cities across Europe. He can give us a picturesque calm village and then shift us to a noisy train station full of people and steam.

Monet could turn a fierce snowstorm into a delight to behold and, with over 75 of his sumptuous paintings to see in this show, every painting fan will want to come down and see this exhibition.

London's architecture appears from out of the gloom. © The National Gallery, London

As beautiful as this show is, there's nothing to surprise us here. We're so familiar with Monet's work, we're not sure any of his paintings could ever shock us. But that's no bad thing, as you can never have too much Monet.

Monet & Architecture is on at The National Gallery from 9 April until 29 July 2018. Tickets are from £20 for adults, booking in advance is strongly recommended.

Last Updated 06 April 2018