The original garden that came with his house was stunning by the time that Monet had worked hard to achieve the look he wanted, but it was the extension to his property that was to bring a whole new life to his career. He decided to add a water theme to his garden and required more land to do this. Having purchased adjoining plots he set about designing his dream garden that would firstly allow him to relax within nature, but also crucially to supply content for his work. The result would be hundreds of paintings and study drawings as Monet studied his new garden over many years, documenting its development within his own career.

The panels in this series capture the changes in his pond from across the course of a day, from morning to sunset. Study and experimentation was something that he put into his career, working directly in oil on canvas as he attempted to learn about these variations in nature by documenting it visually. This was entirely possible because of his decision to set up this entire garden next to his home, and so he could work for hours on end with pure peace and quiet, and no other distractions. Few artists have engulfed themselves in nature quite as much as Monet and this was a key element to his success.

This mural is the centerpiece of the collection of the Musée de l'Orangerie in Paris and remains the museum's biggest draw, with several other Monet waterlily paintings to be found elsewhere in the city. This masterpiece is nearly 13 metres wide, two metres tall, ensuring that most art galleries of the world would actually be unable to put it on display, even if they were fortunate enough to own it in the first place. This fine establishment is relatively small as compared to the likes of the Louvre, but there is still an extraordinary collection to enjoy here, with many more great names represented besides just Monet. There are a number of Amedeo Modigliani paintings on display, for example, such as Antonia, Paul Guillaume, Novo Pilota and The Young Apprentice. You will also find La Carriole du père Junier and The Wedding Party by Henri Rousseau.

The Water Lilies - The Clouds in Detail Claude Monet