The National Gallery, London
As a young man he absorbed the concept of the ‘picturesque’ landscape, an aesthetic with its origins in 18th-century England, which found particular beauty in old buildings placed in rustic settings. Monet painted the Normandy coastline, countryside, and villages throughout his career, interspersed with trips further afield.
A few years later he returned to the Netherlands to visit Amsterdam.
Like many visitors, he was captivated by Holland’s colourful houses and windmills, using their distinctive shapes and hues in his compositions.
He captured the area in different seasons from spring sunshine to winter snow, painting largely outdoors, paying close attention to the specific effects of light and weather.
A keen horticulturist, he intended the space 'for the pleasure of the eyes and also for the purpose of having subjects to paint'. By diverting the flow of the Epte, a tributary of the Seine, to run through his property Monet transformed a swampy area on the other side of the railway tracks into a water garden with a pond over which he built a Japanese-style bridge. His garden at Giverny became the focus of his art until his death in 1926.