It’s the birthday of Claude Monet,

Born in Paris (1840). He and his friend Auguste Renoir were among the first European painters to take their canvases outside to paint directly from nature. They would often work as quickly as they could, so that their paintings looked like sketches, and that sketchy style became known as Impressionism. Monet spent the rest of his career exploring the idea that you can never really see the same thing twice. In a single day, he would often paint the same subject half a dozen times, from slightly different angles and in slightly different light, spending no more than about an hour on each canvas.

In the last 30 years of his life, he painted almost nothing but the water lilies in his garden at Giverny. Monet bought the four-acre property in 1883, built the bridges, dug the lake, and selected all the flowers and plants himself. His gardens are now the property of the French Academy of Fine Arts, which hosts visitors from all over the world.

Claude Monet, who said: “I am following Nature without being able to grasp her. I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.”

Reposted from Writer’ Almanac.