The Royal Academy Show ‘Painting The Modern Garden’ focuses on the story of gardens in art, as painted by the Impressionists…

On a beautiful sunny day last October I walked through Monet’s garden at Giverny for the first time beyond canvas or page. Each step was met with an assault of colour, light and fauna that could’ve turned the most cerebral of conceptual artists into a purring Impressionist.

Giverny Japanese Foot Bridge - Monets Garden

 The famous Japanese footbridge at Giverny – taken on my wee camera phone in October, 2015..

But I’ve always been a bigger Cézanne fan than Monet man. The year before I’d visited Montagne Sainte-Victoire – a solid mass of limestone Cézanne-ness. The painter from Aix-en-Provence created unflinching, serious studies of form and substance that seemed more vital and important than Monet’s prettier, ethereal landscapes.

So I was as surprised as anyone that Monet’s real life gardens at Giverny made me re-evaluate and appreciate his work anew. This was an artist every bit as passionate about capturing the essence of the world around him as Cézanne.

Monet's House and garden at Giverny

 Monet’s garden at Giverny – looking up a garden row towards Monet’s house at the rear left.

Painting The Modern Garden at The Royal Academy

Running from 30th of January to the 20th of April 2016 at one of my favourite London destinations, The RA is holding the exhibition Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse. It takes Monet’s gardens as a starting point to explore how modern artists attempted to capture the garden on canvas. Of course art exhibitions have trailers now…

The Observer’s art critic, Laura Cumming, writes beautifully on encountering Monet’s panorama of water lilies at the Royal Academy exhibition…

In old age, Monet said he took more pride in his garden than his art, and perhaps that is why the three-part panorama of water lilies reunited for the first time in decades at the climax of this show is so overwhelming – so magnificent. The bank has gone. All you see is water, flower, foliage, reflection, light, on and on, round and round. There is no up or down, no end to the beauty of these constellations of colour in liquid space and air. Monet’s garden is beautiful beyond measure: his field of vision is limitless.
~ Laura Cumming, The Observer

Inside Monet's house at Giverny

 A peek inside Claude Monet’s house at Giverny, the paintings look great but aren’t originals (we asked a warden!).

Mark Hudson gives the exhibition a 4 star review in The Telegraph saying it ‘will thrill art lovers and horticulturalists alike’.

Tickets are priced at £17.60 (without donation £16) and can be booked online here.

If you can’t make to the exhibition itself there’s some lovely looking Royal Academy books to accompany it…

Painting The Modern Garden Hardback Book

£48.00

Buy Online

Painting The Modern Garden – Hardback

Brings to life the story of gardens in art, as painted by the Impressionists. The book focuses especially on Monet and the creation of his garden at Giverny. 328 pages with 250 colour illustrations. 28.5 3.3 x 31cm.

Here’s the softcover version at almost half the price of the hardback…

Painting The Modern Garden Book - Softback

£26.00

Buy Online

Painting The Modern Garden – Softback

328 pages, contains 250 colour illustrations. 28.5 3.3 x 31cm.

And there’s a richly illustrated children’s version that’s the first children’s book published by the Royal Academy of the Arts. Nice review of the book with more pictures here

Green Fingers Of Monsieur Monet

£10.95

Buy Online

Green Fingers Of Monsieur Monet – Children’s Book

Written by Giancarlo Ascari and illustrated by Pia Valentinis. 19.8 x 1.1 x 27.9cm.

If you’re one of those people that can’t wait to get to the shop at the end of an exhibition then you can skip the queues and jump straight to the The Royal Academy Shop’s range of products from Painting The Modern Garden.

Monet water lilies Giverny

 Claude Monet’s garden at Giverny in Normandy, which is open to the public between March and November.

Videos of Modern Artist’s Gardens

Royal Academy Curator Ann Dumas visits several of the artists gardens from the Painting The Modern Garden exhibition…

A visit to Bonnard’s garden at Vernonnet

A visit to Max Liebermann’s garden

A visit to Emil Nolde’s garden

A visit to Henri Le Sidaner’s garden

Painting The Modern Garden: From Monet to Matisse is at The Royal Academy from 30th of January to the 20th of April 2016.