Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Doctor, My Eyes --- Day 8/5

Walk: de Young Museum (Monet: The Late Years)
Distance: 5 miles

Claude Monet (1840-1926), The Japanese Footbridge, 1899, o/c

Claude Monet (1840-1926), The Japanese Footbridge, 1923-25, o/c
Here we have the same Japanese Footbridge at Claude Monet's home in Giverny painted by him some twenty years apart.  We also have one of the reasons Ciwt could not be a docent.  If she were, she would need to present the lower painting as a marvel of old age daring, an entirely new and laudable way of painting invented by one of the world's most famous and talented artists in his final years. In other words she would need to present/educate along the lines of museums and those who sell and collect art.

But what Ciwt actually sees and believes is the case is the deterioration of Monet's eyesight and therefore talent, particularly after 1908 when he first wrote his doctor My poor eyesight means I see everything as through a fog. In the ensuing years Monet became blind in one eye and, even after cataract surgery, legally blind in the other.  In the year he was painting the lower work (1923) he wrote his doctor the following:

I went through bad days of nerve pain or other, fortunately, calmed and passed by pills.  Apart from that, I see less and less, with or without dark glasses.  The excessive light that we have tires me so much that I am obliged to confine myself in the darkness of the room.  Today, I have had strong spins in the center of the eye itself, and, moreover I always have the sensation of having water in my eye.
               Monet in his bed wearing the protective dark glasses he wore
                       continually for many years in connection with worsening cataracts
Besides on his blindness there is more research available on Monet's late years, none of which indicates he was intentionally embarking on a revolutionary breakthrough in his painting style.  As Philip Kennicott of the Washington Post wrote "..over time Monet grew old, selfish and cussed."  And good for him thinks Ciwt.  From his early twenties on Monet worked assiduously overcoming enormous artistic, personal and financial obstacles to create - invent really -  great, truly revolutionary work that is beloved the world round.  Ciwt thinks don't lionize him with dubious breakthoughs; instead honor his tenacity and true human struggles with advanced age.



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