“Without the fog London would not be a beautiful city. It is the fog that gives it it’s magnificent breadth. Those massive, regular blocks become grandiose within that mysterious cloak.” ~ Claude Monet
He is an artist and a poet all in one. Tonight I spent several hours in the National Art Gallery in Ottawa, and was struck by how these painters recognized beauty in the smallest things. More than that, they cared enough to sit, be still, and recreate these moments – immortalizing them forever with paint and canvas. Nowadays, we just snap a picture that gets lost in an album on our phone. Or maybe, if it’s good enough, it’ll go on Instagram.
Instead, Monet spent hours recreating this scene – one he clearly valued. The history behind this painting is interesting. When Monet originally painted it, he included the London cityscape and busy waterway in the background. But when he revisited the canvas, he painted over the buildings with layers of mystical colours, focusing on capturing the ethereal atmosphere instead. Needless to say, the result is magical. And it’s probably my favourite painting by him.
As I stood, gazing at the original, I wished we could all have the eye of this great artist. I wished we could all look at London’s smoggy haze and see something beautiful. Not beautiful despite the fog; beautiful because of it.