Now, as one of his masterpieces arrives in Hull it is to feature in an exhibition aimed at shifting modern cultural conversations.
Monet in Mind is to open at Ferens Art Gallery on Monday, with a focus on the importance of mindfulness and reflection.
The ambition is to encourage people to talk about a subject which is too often taboo, as explained by one of the young curators behind the exhibition.
Mollie Gapper from Future Ferens, a group of young artists working with the gallery to curate and design the exhibition, said this was partly in response to the challenges of the past year.
“It has been amazing for us to be involved in curating an exhibition around a painting from an artist as well-known and highly regarded as Monet,” she said.
“We hope that the exhibition will allow visitors to take some time to think about what mindfulness means to them, and to pause and reflect on their own thoughts, feelings, and mental health.”
Monet, one of the leading figures of the Impressionist movement in the 19th century, is known globally to have inspired generations of artists.
His piece Antibes is to take centre stage in the Ferens exhibition, representing the artist’s time in the south of France in the spring of 1888 and capturing the ‘‘magical air’’.
The painting has travelled to Hull for the first time as part of a partnership with The Courtauld, in London, and a National Lottery funded programme to share its collection.
When the Ferens Gallery was offered the chance to select one of seven celebrated Impressionist paintings for loan, young people from the city had helped to choose this one.
Others, from The Warren, have produced new reflective creative writings while students from Hull College have made soundscapes in response to the exhibition, which visitors to the gallery will be able to read and hear.
August McGregor, from Future Ferens, said it had been an incredible opportunity to bring Monet to Hull, and to acknowledge the impact of recent challenges.
“Mental health is something that has affected so many people in different ways over the last year, ” he said.
“In addressing mental wellbeing and positive reflection at the Ferens, we hope to not only provide an interesting experience, but a useful one.”
The ambition is that visitors to the exhibition, and especially young people, will be able to take a mindful moment on seeing the piece, he added, and engage with the reflective aspects of the exhibition.
“Mindfulness as a practice isn’t a topic that’s often explored in earnest by a lot of people, and bringing it into a public space has been a new, exciting and rewarding challenge,” he said.
Monet in Mind runs from Monday until July 4, and is open to the public for free although tickets must be booked in advance.
It will also showcase some of the Ferens Art Gallery’s most popular artworks, as well as many pieces which have never been displayed.
Coun Marjorie Brabazon, chair of Hull Culture and Leisure, said: “The practice of mindfulness and the importance of mental health really came to the fore during the lockdowns, so I’m delighted to see that this exhibition and its accompanying events programme has been designed to encourage reflection on these issues, especially amongst young people.”
Stephanie Edwards, exhibitions assistant at Ferens Art Gallery, said: “As many people discovered in 2020, art can play a valuable role in sustaining mental health; it can encourage, engage and reduce stress. The accompanying events programme is open to everyone, with several online for those unable to visit the gallery in-person.”
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