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Monet’s 'The Water-Lily Pond': A Mindful Impression of Peace

A Mindful Impression of Peace

Curator Chiara di Stefano explores ‘The Water-Lily Pond' by Monet, in 10 minutes.

  • 10-minute film
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  • Available only to Members

Experience the National Gallery's collection like never before with our new exclusive 'National Treasures' film series. A key strand of the National Gallery's Bicentenary celebrations, we will discover 12 loaned paintings from the Gallery's collection across partner venues throughout the UK, providing expert commentary on these iconic masterpieces.

Amongst the most iconic masterpieces in Western modern art, Claude Monet’s (1840–1926) water lily paintings came about from a ‘revelation of the enchantment of [his] pond.’ Monet created a series of over 250 of these paintings, capturing the everchanging light at many different times of day, over three decades. Four of these are in the National Gallery’s collection.

Curator Chiara di Stefano gives us a closer look at one of these pictures, 'The Water-Lily Pond' (1899). It evokes silence and a dreamlike quality, with peaceful and calm, still waters. She shows us in this film how Monet’s series of pictures is not about transience, but permanence.

In 1883, Monet rented a house and garden in Giverny, Northern France. He was passionate about gardening. Ten years later, he acquired an adjoining plot of land, with a pond. It was here he grew his water lilies. Obsessed with the reflective quality of the water, one of Monet’s gardeners would remove dust, pollen and leaves from the surface each day. Unlike the Western cultural influences on his flower garden, his water garden was full of Eastern influence. The shape of the bridge came from Japanese prints he loved.

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Chiara di Stefano

Dr Chiara Di Stefano is Associate Curator of Post-1800 Paintings at the National Gallery. She studied Art History in Italy (University of Turin) and France (Sorbonne University). She has published extensively on modern art and the history of collecting, and worked in a curatorial capacity at the Centre Pompidou – National Museum of Modern Art, Paris. At the National Gallery she has worked on several exhibitions focussing, among others, on Edgar Degas, Eva Gonzalès, Edouard Manet, and Winslow Homer.

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