Monet’s Les Nymphéas

Monet’s Les Nymphéas

Claude Monet spent over half of his life living and working in Giverny, France…a little village just north of Paris in the region of Normandy. After spending a lifetime in constant pursuit of perfect lighting effects, he stopped traveling and cultivated the gardens of his home, Le Pressoir, so that he would always have something to paint. He applied the same color theories to his gardens as he did on the canvas. Complementary hues were juxtaposed with one another creating a spectacle of color each season. In the spring, pale yellows bloomed next to soft pinks. In the fall, fiery oranges and deep purples would take over the landscape. Not only was Monet an artist, he was a horticulturist. When he wasn’t painting, he was reading books about flowers and gardening.

Monet’s Waterlily Pond in Giverny

After living in Le Pressoir for many years, he and Alice (his second wife), purchased an adjacent piece of land that he eventually transformed into his famous Waterlily Garden. It was this subject matter that consumed him the last quarter of his life. By 1914, Alice and his eldest son Jean had died and, consumed with grief, Monet sought solace in his gardens. With World War I raging in the background, he completed a series of panoramic panels that would eventually be installed in the Musee de l’Orangerie (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..

Inside the Musee de l’Orangerie

Spend some time reading (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. about Monet’s Nymphéas and explore the installation via the museum’s virtual tour. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. While looking about these works, think about Monet’s life, both personal and professional. These works are the culmination of his artistic career that spanned nearly 70 years.

For this discussion, share with the class your reaction to the questions listed below:

  1. Consider the Elements of Art. How does Monet use line, shape, volume and mass, color, light, time and movement, space and texture in his work? Not all may apply.
  2. Consider the Principles of Design. How does Monet use repetition, rhythm, pattern, balance, contrast, scale and proportion, directional force, unity and variety, emphasis and subordination in his work? Not all may apply.
  3. How has Monet shown depth of the water?
  4. What do you think surrounds the pond? How do you know?
  5. What three words would you use to describe this painting to someone who could not see it?
  6. What do you think these works are about? Do you think they are a reflection of his personal and professional life?
  7. Monet’s Nymphéas are quite famous. Why do you think these paintings are so highly regarded?


  • Your discussion post and any images used must be embedded and not attached. DO NOT ATTACH your work. Attachments cannot be opened and will receive a zero.
  • Your post must be a minimum of 400 words written in paragraph format.
  • All scholarly sources used must be properly cited in the Chicago Style. (You can review course policies on citations & sources here).
  • Use the Image icon in the toolbar to embed images. Select upload and drag the images from your desktop.
  • Proofread for grammatical and spelling errors.
  • You must comment and provide a thoughtful contribution to one of your classmate’s posts in a minimum of 100 words. Simply stating they did a great job is not a thoughtful contribution to the discussion. You must add to their post by elaborating on what they have written or provide a different perspective.

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