How To Read Paintings: Monet’s Water Lilies

Amorphous and puzzling paintings that gain meaning in the looking

Water Lily Pond (1917–19), by Claude Monet. Source Wiki Art

When standing in front of a water lily painting by Claude Monet, you have the sense that a moment of magic is about to take place. Here is a painting that is many feet wide and six feet high, an expanse of misty, vibrating colour that fills your field of vision.