I remember when I was in university studying for my art history class, I would mix up the names Monet and Manet. To get it straight in my head, I would remind myself that the ‘O’ in Monet, stands for the circular-shaped lily leaves in his paintings. As one of the greatest landscape artists in history, I would never think that his originals would be exhibited here in Hong Kong.
This year’s Le French May is presenting a series of masterpieces by Monet, under the exhibition entitled Claude Monet: The Spirit of Place. This prominent painter works rather differently from other famous artists, as he stays not for a few hours at the spot which he wants to paint, but rather stay for weeks, months, or even years. This is why his works are able to explore “all possible viewpoints, seasons, and variations” of different landscapes, including places in Normandy, London, Giverny, and Venice.
From simply representing the appearance of a place, to presenting it with a more personal touch, to bringing out the essence of the landscape, Monet has successfully created countless irreplaceable series, in which for this particular exhibition, has been divided into four distinct sections.
Not only are his painted works included under the four sections of Normandy and Brittany; Paris and the Île-de-France region; London and Venice; and Giverny with its famous water lilies; each section also includes “audio-visual and multimedia display with images from Monet’s time and today.” Aiming to recreate a vibe of how it was like for Monet, when he stayed at the garden of Giverny in his late years, these multimedia visual experiences are also accompanied with additional information on “the artist’s life, the revolutionary nature of the Impressionist movement and outdoor painting, and the importance of water, sky, earth and light in Monet’s work.” With a strong educational aspect, which is supported by actual works by the artist, this exhibition is able to put viewers closer in touch with the actual Monet, as “a real-life person rather than (just) a legendary artist.”
Claude Monet: The Spirit of Place
4th of May to 11th of July, 2016
Hong Kong Heritage Museum, Thematic Galleries 3, 4 & 5
Monday, Wednesday to Friday: 10am to 6pm
Saturday, Sunday and public holidays: 10am to 7pm
Closed on Tuesdays