Monday, May 05, 2008
Currently showing at the Nagoya Boston Museum of Fine Arts in Nagoya is an exhibition entitled The World of Claude Monet.
There are 25 Monet works on show as well as paintings by some of his contemporaries such as Degas,Renoir and Manet.
There is only one of his waterlily paintings on display.Its the last item on the guide and takes centre stage in the final room of paintings.
For me,however,the real highlights came earlier.Monet seemed to have a thing about haystacks and painted numerous ones at different times of the day.The example included in this exhibition appeared to light up and illuminate the whole area.
Examining the canvas closely,(I could virtually touch the paintings glass with my nosetip as there is a welcome absence of barriers or ropes),it appears to a series of haphazard,indiscriminate daubs and brushstrokes of paint.It is only stepping back from the wall that the whole thing coalesces and you can see the graduations and transition of light which Monet and the other Impressionists were trying to convey.The whole haystack seems to hum and vibrate.
The other highlight was a painting of Rouen Cathedral.Again up close what seems to be a smattering of blue oil paint and a smudge of brown reveals itself from a metre away to be the front doors of the cathedral.I got a sense of the permanence and solidness of the building.Again it seems that Monet painted a Rouen Cathedral series depicting it at various times of the day capturing it at dawn and sunset.
There were also several ukiyo-e woodblock prints from memory by Hiroshige and Hokusai that show the influence this form of art had on the painter.
A painting of a windblown tree has obviously been informed by a similiar Japanese composition while the hills,gorges and cliffs seem to echo earlier Japanese efforts.
All in all an interesting collection of paintings.Im glad that this exhibition came here rather than the smaller Nagoya City Museum as there is a little bit more space to display the paintings.Less ducking and diving.Fewer people intruding on your personal space and thoughts.More space for each painting to be hung without overpowering its neighbour.
The exhibition runs until September 28th and admission is 1,200yen.Closed Mondays unless its a public holiday otherwise the next day.