One of my favorite museums in Paris is the Musée de l’Orangerie which features 360-degree views of Monet’s Water Lilies. Specially created for this space, there are 4 paintings in each of the two oval-shaped rooms that curve with the walls. I think that they depict the four seasons of Monet’s water lily pond but that could just be my interpretation.
Here’s some history on this museum:
The “Musée Claude Monet” was inaugurated by Clemenceau on 17 May 1927, a few months after the artist’s death.
In the end, 8 panels, each 2 metres high and spanning a total length of 91 metres, were arranged in 2 oval rooms that form the symbol of infinity. Their east-west orientation places them in the path of the sun. from Musée National de l’Orangerie des Tuileries
I wanted to share the beauty and tranquility of Monet’s water lilies at Musée de l’Orangerie with you so I taped it for you:
And, after reading these books, here’s what I learned about Claude Monet:
- He struggled to make a living as an artist initially but there were some independently wealthy artists among his Impressionist painter friends.
- He was moody and hard to live with; I wonder if he was bi-polar?
- He married twice; both sounded controversial.
- His paintings in L’Orangerie were his magnus opus.
Are you feeling inspired? I have books for kids on Monet and an easy and fun art project next!
Monet Children’s Books
Linnea in Monet’s Garden by Christina Björk, illustrated by Lena Anderson
Linnea and her upstairs neighbor, Mr. Bloom, travel to Paris to visit Monet’s garden to stand on the Japanese Bridge. They visit Musée Marmottan Monet with over 300 of his paintings, including his 1872 Impression, Sunrise. They also travel to Giverny to Monet’s house. Monet was 53-years-old before he could afford to buy a house. The last ten years of his life were spent painting the works that hang in Musée de l’Orangerie (which used to be the King’s greenhouse). Musée d’Orsay has the most impressionist paintings. Linnea returns to Giverny and meet’s Monet’s great-grandson and learns more about Monet’s life. I’d use this book for kids of any age who are visiting Paris or want to learn about Monet. [early chapter book, ages, 9 and up]
The Painter Who Stopped Trains by
This picture book captures Monet’s motivation for capturing the trains moving in and out at the Gare Saint-Lazare in Paris as a way to showcase modern city life. In order to capture the effect of light through the steam and smoke, the trains had to be delayed. Painting city scenes were new and controversial in 1877 but it was Monet’s way to silence the critics of Impressionists who were harshly critical of their work in 1874. I really like how this book tells a relatively unknown side of Monet’s life and also shows how canny he was to market his work and the Impressionist movement. [advanced picture book, ages 6 and up]
Monet Paints a Day by Julie Danneberg, illustrated by Caitlin Heimerl
This picture book is told from the point of view of Monet as the narrator of his own story, painting at an ocean retreat. His volatile temper is captured in this story, as well as the challenge of capturing the impression of an ocean scene in a very short span of time. Pair with Linnea in Monet’s Garden to get more background on Monet’s unusual life. [picture book, ages 7 and up]
Picnic with Monet by Julie Merberg and Suzanne Bober
Part of the “Mini Master” series, this small board book is packed with Monet’s Greatest Hits and accompanied by rhyming text that nicely ties his paintings into a little adventure from Paris to Giverny and back. [board book, ages 2 and up]
Monet’s Impressions by The Metropolitan Museum of Art
I really like this nonfiction picture book that uses a few of Monet’s actual words paired with his paintings. The words are like spare poetry that also captures a fleeting moment, much like his work. [nonfiction picture book, ages 5 and up]
Where is Frog?: A Children’s Book Inspired by Claude Monet by Geraldine Elschner, illustrated by Stephane Girel
Told from the point of view of Antoinette, the frog, this picture book uses Claude Monet’s works as a jumping-off point to illustrate this fanciful story of what it was like to watch him create his masterpieces. His paintings are modified to include Mr. Monet himself and the frog. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Philippe in Monet’s Garden by Lisa Jobe Carmack
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston published this rhyming silly picture book that imagines the frog in Monet’s pond as a bullied frog who has found solitude here. It’s not my favorite of the books on this list, but one for kids who like frog picture books like the Froggy series. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
A Blue Butterfly: A Story of Claude Monet by Bijou Le Tord
The author, inspired by visiting a vast amount of Monet’s paintings in Frace, emulates Monet’s color palette of just eight colors to paint his own impressionistic illustrations. Use this book for kids’ art projects based on Monet’s works. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
The Life and Work of Claude Monet by Sean Connolly
This is a short chapter book that feels like the bullet point highlights of Monet’s life. It’s not my favorite but it does have some interesting facts about his life. [early chapter nonfiction book, ages 6 and up]
Who Was Claude Monet? by Ann Waldron
It’s interesting that oil paint in tubes, new dyes for paints, and photography was introduced in the mid-nineteenth century. These inventions allowed artists to paint outdoors, paving the way for the Impressionists. This early chapter book is packed with details about Claude Monet’s childhood and how he met other artists that became part of the Impressionist movement. This excellent series is both fun to read and informative. [early chapter book, ages 8 and up]
Art for Young People: Claude Monet by Peter Harrison
This is a really well-done non-fiction book about Claude Monet. Each page spread describes a period of his life and is easy to read. The paintings and photographs that accompany the spread have interesting captions and make the page easy on the eye. This book also details Monet’s early struggles as an artist. [nonfiction chapter book, ages 9 and up]
Monet and the Impressionists for Kids: Their Lives and Ideas, 21 Activities by Carol Sabbeth
Learn more about the other Impressionist contemporaries of Claude Monet in this activity book with art projects highlighting each of their painterly techniques. This is perfect if you are planning an art activity or a kids’ book club. [activity art nonfiction book, ages 9 and up]
Monet Water Lily Art Project
For our art painting, you will need:
- art paper (it can be any size). I am using watercolor paper
- yellow and blue paint (poster paint or watercolor paint). I am using watercolor paint
- crayon, sidewalk chalk, or chalk pastel. I am using sidewalk chalk
- paintbrush. I am using a Number 12 round paintbrush for watercolor
- jar of water
- paper towels
Step 1: Gently moisten the paper using your paintbrush and the water. You want it damp but not soaking wet.
Step 2: If you are using watercolor paint, mix up yellow and blue.
Step 3: Paint a light blue background on the paper. It does not have to cover the entire page.
Step 4: Choose your Monet “inspiration” painting from the video above or these paintings below.,
Step 5: Use the yellow paint to paint circles where you want your lilies. This can be your own composition or you can choose a cluster of water lilies on Monet’s paintings.
Step 6: Use the blue paint to paint partially around the yellow circles. Let the colors mix.
Step 7: Mix the yellow and blue paint on your palette to make green and gently stroke some of the green paint vertically up and down your painting wherever you want.
Step 8: Stand the painting up vertically to let it dry and to let the paint gently drip downwards.
Step 9: When the paper is dry, mix more yellow and blue to paint details to your waterlilies.
Step 10: Add details to your flowers using chalk or crayon. If you are using chalk, you can blend the colors by using your wet paintbrush.
I added more watercolor colors. Here’s how mine turned out:
I hope you enjoyed visiting Monet’s water lilies today! What are your favorite artists that you’d like me to cover? Thanks for sharing!
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.