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Claude Monet's bond with Liguria

Claude Monet's bond with Liguria

28/02/2020

Many impressionists have spent more or less long periods in Italy and among them there is also Claude Monet, one of the leading exponents of the Impressionist movement. 

In this case we are talking about Liguria, a region chosen by the painter to find inspiration in 1884. During his stay in western Liguria Monet painted several canvases, works that portray the unique villas and landscapes that can be admired in this land rich in vegetation, well-kept buildings and a sea that takes your breath away. 

Evidence of the painter's experience in Liguria can be found in the letters he wrote to his beloved Alice Hoschedé, Monet's second wife, married after the untimely death of Camille. 

In his letters Claude Monet told the woman about the work he did and the difficulties he encountered as he decided to paint certain types of plants and landscapes, but also about the new colours he used. 

Despite his strong bond with his second wife and the desire to be close to her, the painter decided to stay in Liguria for a long time, attracted by the surrounding world which he reproduced on canvas using shades that had little to do with the typical nuances used by the Impressionists. We are talking above all about pink, apricot, emerald green and blue, colours that often prevailed in the canvases painted by Monet in Liguria, shades that initially created quite a lot of uncertainty and fear in the artist. However, despite being tense enough for the final outcome and for what his friends and critics would have said about this choice, he believed that in order to perfectly describe the landscapes and subjects that surrounded him, it was necessary to start including different colours in his works.

The places that inspired the artist

When he arrived in Italy, the painter settled in Bordighera, a small town located between Sanremo and Ventimiglia, but during his stay he was also inspired by the beautiful villages of Dolceacqua, in the Valley of Nervia, and other small picturesque villages. 

The year before, Monet had already been to Liguria, together with his dear friend Pierre Auguste Renoir, but given the two different styles of painting, the two artists soon abandoned the idea of staying there together.

The works painted in Liguria

The works that Claude Monet created in Liguria, today are preserved in the most important museums in the world or are part of private collections. Among the most relevant paintings are:

"View of Ventimiglia" - kept at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, 

"Study of olive trees" - belonging to a private collection, 

"Garden in Bordighera" - preserved at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, 

"Villas at Bordighera" - a painting that can be admired at the Museé d'Orsay in Paris,

"Bordighera" - kept at The Art Institute in Chicago, 

"The Valley of Sasso. Sun effect" – housed in the Museé Marmottan Monet in Paris,

"The Castle of Dolceacqua" - kept at the Museé Marmottan Monet in Paris and

"The Old Bridge over the Nervia at Dolceacqua" – a painting preserved in Williamstown at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, in Williamstown, Massachusetts, in the USA.

Article by: Aurora Caraman