Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies

Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies

by Ross King
Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies

Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies

by Ross King


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From bestselling author Ross King, a brilliant portrait of the legendary artist and the story of his most memorable achievement.

Claude Monet is perhaps the world's most beloved artist, and among all his creations, the paintings of the water lilies in his garden at Giverny are most famous. Monet intended the water lilies to provide "an asylum of peaceful meditation." Yet, as Ross King reveals in his magisterial chronicle of both artist and masterpiece, these beautiful canvases belie the intense frustration Monet experienced in trying to capture the fugitive effects of light, water, and color. They also reflect the terrible personal torments Monet suffered in the last dozen years of his life.

Mad Enchantment tells the full story behind the creation of the Water Lilies, as the horrors of World War I came ever closer to Paris and Giverny and a new generation of younger artists, led by Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, were challenging the achievements of Impressionism. By early 1914, French newspapers were reporting that Monet, by then seventy-three, had retired his brushes. He had lost his beloved wife, Alice, and his eldest son, Jean. His famously acute vision—what Paul Cezanne called “the most prodigious eye in the history of painting”—was threatened by cataracts. And yet, despite ill health, self-doubt, and advancing age, Monet began painting again on a more ambitious scale than ever before. Linking great artistic achievement to the personal and historical dramas unfolding around it, Ross King presents the most intimate and revealing portrait of an iconic figure in world culture.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781632860132
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 09/12/2017
Pages: 416
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Ross King is the author of Brunelleschi's Dome, Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling, The Judgment of Paris, Leonardo and The Last Supper, and others. His work has been nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award, the Charles Taylor Prize, and the National Award for Arts Writing. He has lectured at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Smithsonian, the Aspen Institute, and the Frick Collection, and in Florence, Milan, Paris, and Giverny. He lives near Oxford with his wife, Melanie.

Table of Contents

Maps ix

Monet Family Tree xii

Chapter 1 The Tiger and the Hedgehog 1

Chapter 2 Du Côté de Chez Monet 17

Chapter 3 Landscapes of Water 35

Chapter 4 A Great Project 49

Chapter 5 Into the Unknown 69

Chapter 6 A Grande Décoration 85

Chapter 7 A Grand Atelier 99

Chapter 8 Under Fire 117

Chapter 9 A State of Impossible Anxiety 133

Chapter 10 The Smile of Reims 151

Chapter 11 The Weeping Willow 171

Chapter 12 This Terrible, Grand, and Beautiful Hour 185

Chapter 13 An Old Man Mad About Painting 199

Chapter 14 Men of Impeccable Taste 213

Chapter 15 A Grand Donation 225

Chapter 16 A Most Ardent Admirer 243

Chapter 17 The Luminous Abyss 261

Chapter 18 The Fatal Protuberance 271

Chapter 19 The Soul's Dark Cottage 293

Chapter 20 "Send Your Slipper to the Stars" 309

Epilogue The Prince of Light 327

Acknowledgments 345

Image Credits 348

Selected Bibliography 349

Notes 353

Appendix 393

Index 395

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