For as long as I can remember, water lilies have always been a sign of peacefulness to me. This is one of the reasons I have always been drawn to Claude Monet’s Bridge over the Water-lily Pond (1905). The green hues in this piece bring me a feeling of happiness. The Bridge over the Water-lily Pond has a sense of calmness and tranquility. There exists such expression and emotions from the impasto in this piece as well.
The foreground is filled with beautiful water lilies floating atop a peaceful pond. In the middle ground is the famous Japanese bridge with some green shrubbery. In the background there are tall droopy trees somewhat like willows.
Monet uses color to create his tranquil mood throughout the painting. He uses cool colors such as green and purple. He also uses black, brown, white, yellow, and pink. There utilizes his limitless color range. Monet’s choice of colors is expressive and symbolic for the mood. For example, the green emphasizes peacefulness and the yellow adds the warm calm feeling.
Texture is a significant element used in this piece. The piece shows the rough, thickness of the paint. Monet uses the effect of actual texture so, for example, if you were to go up and touch the painting you would be able to feel the impasto.
Another important element used in this piece is value/light within the atmosphere. There are highlights present on the pond, using white and yellow, where the light is shining. Also, there are shadows, using black and brown, where the trees are blocking the light.
It is apparent where the emphasis in this piece is centered. The bridge is the only one focal point in this painting. The lines from the trees and shrubbery lead your eye toward the center where the bridge is centered. These lines are imperative to create movement toward the focal point.
Unity is the principle that holds this piece together. The color in this artwork has the cohesion needed to make everything similar. Also, the texture helps to bring unity into the piece by giving everything another similarity along with the color. In addition, unity allows the piece to be aesthetically pleasing.
Monet uses oil on canvas for the bridge over the Water-lily Pond. Due to the fact that Monet used oil paint, he had the ability to create a thickness of paint, layering it on the canvas. Monet used the technique of impasto, which also gives the painting that rough looking quality on the canvas. If Monet had chosen a different type of medium he would not have been able to create the layered look as he did in this piece. It is that rough, layered, impasto look which assists in the emotion and feeling of this painting. This piece would not be the same without the expressionism created from that particular medium.
Monet’s piece is displayed in the West Pavilion Impressionist Gallery at The Getty Center in Los Angeles. It is in an extravagant, gold color frame covered in intricate designs and the walls are of a dark, earthy brown color. The color of the walls gives the gallery a warm sense. There is a skylight overhead, which has a cover that automatically changes with the lighting outside of the gallery. Also, there is overhead spotlighting at the top of the ceiling, around the skylight, which is pointed toward each piece.
The painting on the left is ‘The Rue Mosnier’ with Flags by Edouard Manet. It is oil on canvas and it was done in 1878. The painting on the right is After the Bath by Edgar Degas. It is oil on canvas as well and was done approximately 1895. I believe these pieces detract from The Bridge over the Water-lily Pond due to the fact that many people tend to walk right by landscapes and atmospheric pieces. They go straight towards pieces with humans as the focal point because we as humans relate better to those pieces. However, I myself love Monet so I was drawn to his piece.
Claude Monet’s Bridge over the Water-lily Pond (1905) gives you a place where you would want to be alone. It gives you the calmness that you perhaps might be looking for in your life. It is not just any ordinary landscape it is a sanctuary; it is a place of safety. This piece holds so much emotion just in its color and expressionism. No one should just casually walk past this piece, but should look deep within the emotion and see the tranquility of the pond and how still the water lilies are resting. They should see peace as if they were looking at it through Monet’s eyes.