If you want to paint like Monet, you need to travel
Painting and travelling
‘El Puerto de Coquimbo’ or ‘Andacollo Church’ are paintings by an artist who embodied this perfect combination of travel and art. In fact, there is a book about Johann Moritz Rugendas called ‘La mirada de un viajero’ (A traveller’s observation). Although he was born in Germany, his paintings are focused on Chile and capture European Romanticism in Latin America.
Of all the schools, Impressionism is undoubtedly among the best known and loved. Paintings that transport the observer to green or blue mountains, or orange and fuchsia dusks. Claude Monet, the quintessential Impressionist, invites you to marvel at these landscapes, taking you there through his paintings. Works like ‘Impression, Sunrise’ or ‘Poplars on the Epte’ depict mainly French steppes and rivers. Or landscapes like Giverny, the artist’s home for more than 40 years, where his house can be visited next to the gardens that inspired his well-known ‘Water Lilies’. Other works put the emphasis on the setting, among them, ‘The Gare St-Lazare’, which he presented at the Third Impressionist Exhibition of 1877. After seeing the painting, one critic noted: “Monet had already painted it less successfully on other occasions. This time it’s marvellous.”
On Pablo Picasso’s journey towards Cubism one place proved to be especially inspiring: Horta de Sant Joan. Today this farming village in the province of Tarragona (Spain) is home to the Centre Picasso. ‘Factory at Horto de Ebro’, ‘Houses on the Hill’ and ‘The Reservoir, Horta’ are his legacy. The Catalan setting also inspired another iconic Spanish artist, Salvador Dalí. The Costa Brava was his canvas: Figueres, where he was born and died; Cadaqués, with his house-museum in the picturesque village of Portlligat and Girona, now home to a museum where surrealist elephants decorate the garden. And why not? After all, as the surrealist master used to say: ‘The only thing the world will never tire of is exaggeration.”
‘Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji’ is one of the most famous works of Japanese art. The series of woodblock prints, produced in the 19th century by Katsushika Hokusai, captures the might and beauty of the country’s highest peak, located on Honshu island. The first painting in the series, ‘The Great Wave off Kanawaga’ has become truly iconic.
Thanks to Dutch painting, the Netherlands form part of the collective memory. The Masters of the so-called Dutch Golden Age, chief among them Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Johannes Vermeer, dominated the Baroque era. Between them, they left behind famous pictures of canals, vast flat grasslands, cloudy skies and windmills, such as those found in Kinderdijk. These days protected by World Heritage status, a visit to them can give you the feeling of being trapped inside a painting like Jacob Ruisdael’s ‘The Windmill of Wijk bij Duurstede’.