Sun. Mar 24th, 2019

burst of light, color, air and water

‘Los nenúfares de Monet’: estallido de luz, color, aire y agua

This Monday and Tuesday, at seven o'clock in the afternoon, there is a new monthly appointment at the Verdi cinemas and at several other cinemas in Barcelona within the documentary cycle "Los grandes del ARTE": two unique passes of the film The water lilies of Monet. The magic of light and water, centered on one of the main forgers of Impressionism, Claude Monet, whose path towards abstraction inspired abstract painting.

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The documentary, of Italian nationality in charge of the television producers Claudio Montefusco and Mario Paloschi (this one also realized) for the specialized seal in art Ballandi Arts, and for Nexo Digital, has been directed by Giovanni Troilo, director inclined to the art documentary.

Although the footage takes a look at the painter's artistic and personal life, he mostly focuses on the last thirty years of his life (he died in 1927), in which he progressively, once installed in the small Norman town of Giverny, in 1883, will make the water lilies a series that would add more than 250 oil paintings, in addition executed by a Monet affected by cataracts since 1912. However, the series of canvases on the same motif, at different times of the day and, consequently, with different light, had already begun in 1889, with others of haystacks and the facade of the Cathedral of Rouen, or even before, in 1877, with that of the railway station of Saint Lazare.

The documentary is inspired by the polyhedral book of the art historian, Ross King: "Mad Enchantment: Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies", that intervenes throughout the documentary and that has advised the production of the film. Likewise, the photographer Flemish Sanne De Wilde, and the gardener of the Monet Foundation of Giverny, Claire Helene Marron, contribute with their opinions. As the camera climbs the Seine following the itinerary it moved, the painter worked and lived throughout his life, from Le Havre, passing through Poissy, Argenteuil, Vétheuil, to land in Giverny, and naturally with an omnipresent Paris , the actress Elisa Lasowski -who we know as Queen María Teresa in the Versailles series, or as Mirelle in the series Game of Thrones, as well as the prostitute of the long Eastern Promises- exercises a leisurely guide while commenting on the painter's life and work. Thus we know of his important friendship since his youth with Eugène Boudin, and his relationship with Camille Pissarro, Auguste Renoir and many other exponents of the impressionist movement.

Paintings with Monet's Water Lilies are spread throughout museums around the world: among others, the MOMA in New York, the Museum of Art at Princeton University, the museums of Cleveland, Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, Portland, also the National Museum of Wales and the Museum of Fine Arts of Nantes; but the documentary focuses on the splendid exhibition of the Parisian museums of Orsay and the Marmottan Monet, and Monet's own house and gardens in Giverny to, above all, lead to the great final work that is the eight panels divided into two oval rooms, known as La Grande Décoration, built for this purpose in the Orangerie Museum, with which the ribbon is practically opened and closed, and which become, together with Giverny's garden, the core of Ross King's book and also of the film

Monet profoundly transforms the garden of his house in Giverny into a domesticated nature made the epicenter of his production in situ, always taken from nature -as good impressionism marks in his obsessive and often unsuccessful struggle to capture light, color, particularly the water in the case of Monet, and even the essence of the air that stands between the eye and the painted object: those water lilies that spread through the pond of the place, as well as flowers and thick vegetation, where he built a Japanese bridge present in his work and particularly in the panels of the Orangerie.

The documentary informs us of its problems with the population, since Monet built dams that affected irrigation, in addition to raising the water temperature with a view to maintaining water lilies that people understood as contaminants. To Giverny, Monet was nothing short of a bizarre savage. However, his friendship with the Prime Minister, Georges Clemenceau, great admirer of the work of the painter, and who took refuge in Giverny in his escape from obligations, facilitated things. Man sometimes depressive and with ups and downs of temper, Monet suffered the loss of his two wives - the first, Camille Doncieux, painted post mortem in 1879; the second, Alice Hoschedé, died in 1911. One of his two males, Jean, also died in 1914, the year the Great War broke out. To this were added the cataracts, diagnosed since 1912, and a storm that in 1910 had devastated its precious garden by the overflow of the Seine. Added the conflagration, came out of the hole just with the desire to make twelve large panels of water lilies that served as the last legacy, gift to the French State as a symbol of peace and hope. Eight finally they were those that some months after his death, in 1927, they inaugurated the rooms of the Orangerie, that Clemenceau constructed especially to lodge them. The project warns the summit of an ambition not devoid of scenic and spectacular sense that apparently went back as far as 1909, and that reached to irritate the politician before the repeated delays in the delivery, Monet obsessed in his abstract perfectionism of some panels that they intended, with the help of the lighting of the rooms, to pick up the changes of daylight and even of the seasons, in their dizzying attempt to reflect the imprint of the eye before the water, the water lilies, the light, the colors and the reflection from the sky. The panels of the Grande Décoration had to be removed from their studio after their death, and constitute a vital experience. But Monet was forgotten until the 50s, when Jackson Pollock and other artists of the abstract saw in the execution of those water lilies the seed of his path.

The water lilies of Monet combines the sample of the works of the painter in the mentioned museums with images and filming of him and of his entourage, as well as with an invaluable visit to his garden -to which the trip by the Seine is added-, captured in all its splendor of light and color, those that Monet so much sought to reflect, by the savoir faire of the director of photography Jean Delille; contributes the music of Remo Anzovino.

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