Claude Monet, the pioneer of impressionism and one of the greatest masters of modern art liked painting plein air, that is to say outdoors to capture natural light and colours, in his own garden. His most famous works are the pieces of the series of 250 large paintings entitled Les Nymphéas (Water Lilies).
Monet lived in the picturesque little French town of Giverny for 43 years, from 1883 until his death, where he surrounded himself with amazing objects, beautiful paintings and a magnificent garden. The walls of the rooms were adorned with exquisite Japanese woodcuts, and the doors opened onto a colourful garden with Oriental inspirations, which the painter simply called his greatest masterpiece.
Right in the middle of that masterpiece, there was a little artificial pond framed by flowers and crossed by a Japanese wooden bridge. The pond, with its whimsical floating water lilies, soon became one of Monet’s favourite themes.
In the Water Lilies series, Monet placed the emphasis on momentary impressions, the play of light and colours, and capturing the boundary between air and water.
To depict the curious effects of light, the painter used a rich palette, starting from pastel pinks through pale blues all the way to deep purples and bright greens. Monet often painted the reflections of clouds and trees as well, lending depth to the paintings and offering unusual glimpses of his garden.
The approximately 250 pieces were created during the last 30 years of Monet’s life. He painted his last Water Lilies piece in 1926, the year of his death. Compared with the rest of the series, the late pieces are dominated by warmer colours, and the paintings are more muddled and darker, probably the result of the artist’s ailing eyesight.
Today, paintings from Monet’s Water Lilies series can be seen all around the world, but the most famous exhibition is at the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris, where the most celebrated paintings of one of the greatest impressionists can be viewed on specially constructed curved walls.
French designer and illustrator Mlle Hipolyte builds complex sculptures from vibrantly colourful paper. Her latest tree-dimensional work is inspired by coral reefs; the sculpture titled Coralium, which is almost one metre tall and 3 metres wide, was built using various techniques. The purpose of the work is to highlight the increasing fragility of the marine ecosystem caused by climate change.
British illustrator Mat Miller has produced a piece of art for the PangeaSeed Foundation to highlight the challenges that the oceans face today. His piece, entitled Equilibrium, was published in the foundation’s latest publication, with the aim of focusing attention on the vulnerability of the oceanic ecosystem and the rapid extinction of marine species.
The ocean is the greatest inspiration for New Zealand artist Ben Young: he has been making stunning glass sculptures that offer a new perspective on the beauty of massive bodies of water for 15 years. He grew up in the Bay of Plenty on the northern coast of New Zealand, and has been captivated by the clear blues of the ocean since his childhood.
Portuguese surfer Johny Vieira has been inspired by ocean waves and the eerie shapes of beached driftwood. Along with his surfing, he began to make sculptures using pieces of driftwood, and his pieces are closely connected to nature and the majestic ocean.
Australian photographer Matt Burgess spends hours in the salty sea to capture the diverse forms and textures of waves and to grasp the capricious moods of the ocean. He documents the hypnotic moments when waves reach their crests, or when they curl around as they hit the shallow seabed by the shore.
World champion freediver Guillaume Néry has produced a short film entitled One Breath Around the World, in which he presents the astonishing world hidden deep in the oceans on a single breath.
The unique stamp issued on the occasion of the Budapest Water Summit 2019, have been released by Mr János Áder, President of Hungary and Mr György Schamschula, CEO of Magyar Posta Zrt. (Hungarian Post) on Monday, October 7th, at the Sándor Palace in Budapest.
It is no accident that Christine Ren decided to call herself The Underwater Woman: she combines her passion for dancing with ocean conservation, so she poses her dance moves under the surface for breathtaking photos such as the pieces in the series Protect What’s Precious, which protests trawling.
British multimedia artist Rowan Mersh finds inspiration in nature. He uses thousands of shells to create his mesmerizing contemporary sculptures. His experimental approach inspires him to turn everyday objects into works of art, with particular attention to the harmony of shape, colour and geometry.
The ethereal paintings of Bree Brooks celebrate the calm, peaceful aspect, the unearthly beauty of the ocean. The canvas paintings show large bodies of water from a bird’s eye perspective, interrupted by the coastline or boats swaying in the ocean.