The latest exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts will certainly cheer visitors up on a gloomy day. 

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Auguste Renoir, Monet Painting in His Garden at Argenteuil, 1873,
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT. Bequest of Anne Parrish Titzell, 
Photo (c) Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT. 

Wondering through this exhibition that really celebrates nature and all that it has to offer, the visitor will more than likely want to jump into a couple of these paintings and get lost in the world that artists such as Renoir and Monet brought to life.

Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse  is a mammoth exhibition that leaves nothing unexplored in its close examination of the role of gardens in the paintings of Claude Monet and his contemporaries.

“I perhaps owe it to flowers that I became a painter” Claude Monet once said and if the work selected for this exhibition is any indication, the visitor gets a real sense of his joy and fascination with flowers.

By using his work as a starting point, the display not only shows how his contemporaries were influenced by the artist himself, but how they were able to use gardens to express an urge to return to a simpler way of life before industrialisation began to take over.

There are so many different examples of gardens selected for Painting the Modern Garden , that are different in style yet are all as vivid, colourful and stunning to look at, capturing and bringing to life of the gardens beautifully. One such example is Monet’s Lady in the Garden (1867) that is so life like, yet simple in detail that anyone could stand mesmerised by it for a long time.

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Joaquin Sorolla, Louis Comfort Tiffany, 1911. On loan from the Hispanic Society of America, New York, NY. Photo (c) courtesy of The Hispanic Society of America. 

Yet while there is plenty to admire about the exhibition, it does take a couple of rooms before the visitor is really drawn into what they are looking at and begin to understand what the purpose of the exhibition is.

However, considering the vast number of works selected for Painting the Modern Garden at no point does it feel overwhelming. Visitors can wonder around at their own pace and really appreciate works such as Camille Pissarro’s Jeanne Pissarro, called Minette, Sitting in the Garden, Pontoise (1872) which is both charming and reveals how a garden and being in one can sweep you off into your own dreamlike world.

Which is one of the feelings that you get while walking around looking at the wide variety of gardens on display. There is a dream-like and serene feeling about the exhibition that makes this a very pleasant and relaxing experience.

Yet this display isn’t all about the artists or their paintings. There is a huge range of material on show that relates to some of the many flowers that were painted, as well as a room devoted to explaining Monet’s passion for gardening through material that he wrote about flowers.

Arranged thematically, the exhibition really showcases the development of using gardens as a theme, but it doesn’t really explore how it fitted in with what was happening in society at the time as much as expecting.

Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse is a fully rounded exhibition in the sense that it celebrates the wonder of nature and will certainly offer visitors a way of escaping the pressures of everyday life – even if it is just for a few moments.

Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse opens at the Royal Academy of Arts on the 30th January until the 20th April 2016. 

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