Thursday, 4 July 2013

Monet's Garden at the NGV

I was still in bed when Molly excitedly ran into my room all dressed up (in this super cute mis-matched outfit that only Molly can pull off) saying "I'm ready to see Monet's Garden Mummy"...

The kids have been learning about Monet at school. I'm really impressed with the school's art program. They begin learning about art genres and influential artists right from prep and Monet's "Waterlilies" is one of Molly's favourite paintings. They of course still get to play with paint & pastels but their work is inspired by the work of the artists they're learning about. You should see some of the stuff they produce!!

When I saw the advertisement for the National Gallery of Victoria's most recent exhibition "Monet's Garden" I knew it would be a must-see these holidays.

There was a point on Monday night where I thought I was going to need to cancel and go in to work as one of my staff came down with a chest infection and it was looking like there would be no one to cover the shop. I was at work long after closing, calling everyone I could think of to try and fill the shift.. I got quite upset actually. I really didn't want to let the girls down.. At the last minute it was sorted! So off we went on Tuesday..

The kids always love a train trip to the city. That alone would be enough of an outing for Richie. Pulling into Flinders Street Station it hit me that I was about to see the artwork from one of the most influential artists in history. I was totally buzzing!


Neither of the girls had ever been to the NGV so it was all very exciting. Don't you think this photo of the girls touching the glass water wall actually looks a bit like a Monet? Yes?! I do!

I took a sneaky photo inside the gallery.. I felt very naughty! There were a lot of security guards lurking around so I was stealthy.

The exhibition was very well set out. It stretched over four rooms. The first showed paintings from his early years and also a very special treat, two portraits of Monet and his wife Camille by Renoir! The middle room featured the middle years, the next the later years and the final room was an amazing cinema room which played an absolutely stunning film that was recorded only last year at Monet's Garden in Giverny. 

We actually did a fairly quick first walk through and then after seeing the film of the garden, went back and saw the paintings with a new perspective. I really didn't expect the girls to connect with it as much as they did. I should give them more credit but you just never know with kids. Molly was so intrigued with Monet's story. Particularly his progression from the early years where he painted with fine detail to the later years when his eyesight was so badly affected by cataracts that his art became very clunky and childlike, and then, after he had cataract surgery his work became more recognisable again. It was completely fascinating to see the world through his eyes. 

I think it was a bit of a revelation to the girls to paint as you see... To not view objects as just objects but to see the colours, light, darkness and shapes and not to worry too much about the detail if you don't want to.

April spent her time wandering from work to work reading all of the information. This is actually quite a big deal as it was only a few months ago at the museum she was saying she hated reading information and she just wanted to look at stuff. In this case, the story is so important in understanding the artwork so I am really glad she decided to give it a go. Needless to say, she was also captivated and very much inspired.

Here are a couple of happy snaps we took before we left.

Here's Mol hanging with Claude

After the exhibition, feeling freshly inspired and positively right-brainy, we headed across to the Botanic Gardens where we attempted to see things as Monet saw them. Molly made me take lots and lots of photos so she could paint them later... Here are a few.. 

Have you been to see Monet's Garden yet? I'd highly recommend it!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


philippa_moore said...

What a wonderful and inspiring family outing! Love it :) xx

Kek said...

I'm sadly behind on my blog-reading and trying to do a bit of a catch-up today...

This was one of the best exhibitions the NGV has ever put on - probably THE best. I've never been so emotionally affected by art before. The waterlilies made me cry.

It's so lovely that the girls enjoyed it so much. I remember family outings to the gallery as a kid - and every time I visited, I saw something different or new, often in a painting I'd seen many times before. It's still one of my favourite places to go. :) These days, I love to visit the Ian Potter Centre too to hang out with the Australian impressionists.

We're now planning a trip to Europe next year and Monet's garden is on our list of must-see places. So exciting!

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