Word Count: 315
Claude Monet: Bridge Over a Pond of Water Lilies
Bridge Over a Pond of Water Lilies is one of a series of eighteen views painted by Monet in 1899. The painting depicts a Japanese style footbridge in Monet’s garden in Giverny. This piece is a prime example of Monet’s impressionism. Stylistically, his use of dappled sunlight and a wide range of textures and colors shows an En-plein-air painting style – focusing just as heavily on the sensations of the moment as on the observations of form. Monet used many short, rapid brushstrokes, as well as taches, to create the surface of the pond and the water lilies resting on its surface. This choice creates a luminescence and give the study a warm, lifelike feel. Furthermore, Monet heavily compresses space in this painting. That is to say, there is almost no sky to be seen, and the bridge anchors the composition, bringing out the depth and complexity of both the back and foreground. The color palette consists of varying shades of green, red, and brown, yellow and blue, which are utilized throughout the painting. The bridge in the center of the painting uses almost identical shades of green and mauve as the pond and foliage to either side, and gently mirrors the two. Twelve of the eighteen paintings in the set are from the same view, and six of them shift slightly to the left. Each of the others shows the same characteristics of compressed space without feeling crowded and each shows a different dappling effect of the light. This lends the piece a strikingly organic feeling, the viewer is left with the feeling that he or she was standing at the time of the painting’s creation. Overall, this painting is one of many that showcases Monet’s masterful use of light, color, and paint application to create a thoroughly fascinating scene.