Normandy Pays Tribute to Its Illustrious Art History With the Impressionism Festival
Normandy is the landscape of Impressionism, at least in the respect there are few locations so inextricably linked to an artistic movement as Normandy is to Impressionism. Here there is always the faint memory of paintings seen, as you begin to mingle with the land depicted so often by Monet, Pissarro, Manet and Boudin.
This land provided the perfect territory for this new breed of landscape painting, with good train services to the capital it offered them a good way to address the dichotomy of their reliance on the city for its funding, and their reliance on the countryside for the images it inspired. As a location it blended the modernistic (trains, industry) with the more unspoiled picturesque charm we are familiar with in Monet paintings such as ‘White Waterlilies’
The Festival Normandie Impressioniste is a great excuse to get over to Normandy, rent one of the villas in France and take in some high quality culture. A series of events and exhibitions sweep through the area, paying homage to Normandy’s rich cultural past.
It offers a series of boat rides, film-screenings, open air restaurants, amidst the nostalgia of Normandy’s most prosperous artistic period.
Road to Rouen:
The hub of the festival, as it was the hub of Impressionism is Rouen, where the flagshi9p exhibition of impressionism shall take place, featuring the biggest names of the movement, Pissaro, Monet, Manet et al. Also featuring the earlier works of Gauguin before his switch to Surrealism in Brittany.
The highlight of the show is the collection of 11 of the 28 exhibiting of 11 of the 28 paintings Monet did of the Rouen cathedral, produced in all weathers. Though this takes precedence in the museum, there are some other charming pieces to be seen and this is a must as a port of call on the festival’s route.
After you can take a trip up to the cathedral and see the building that Monet recreated so often with his paint. Opposite you can see the house from which, the artist viewed his subject.
In the town Pissarro’s favourite bridge, Pont Boieldieu has been turned in to a considerable artwork. You can now walk underneath it using the 400ft plank installation by Belgian artist Arne Quinze.
In the centre of the town you will find place de View-Marche, a bizarre ship-shaped building, that is partially church, partially food market, it stands just next to the spot where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. Here you will find the new Gustave Flaubert lifting bridge, leading to riverside promenade and rehabilitated warehouses where the festival shall reach its climax with a big party on September 25th.
Many other towns around the region are holding events in hope for an influx of tourism in Normandy. These towns include Jumiges and the boucles de la Seine, Honfleur, La Cte Fleurie, Le Havre and Etretat, and Giverny.
For every Monet fan no trip would be complete without a journey to Giverny, the small which the artist is most associated with.