Real Life Destinations from Famous Paintings
Have you ever stood in front of a painting so vivid that you feel a part of it? If you have, it's probably because the artist took inspiration from a real-life setting - somewhere they knew well. While many locations and landmarks from famous paintings have changed out of all recognition, there are still some destinations around the world that the artist would recognise. We've gathered together 6 real-life destinations from famous paintings you can actually visit.
Travel to 6 actual locations you can visit around the world
- Claude Monet: The 'Water Lilies' Series, Giverny, France
- Vincent van Gogh: 'Le Café la Nuit', Arles, France
- Katsushika Hokusai: 'Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji', Sagami Province, Japan
- Pierre-Auguste Renoir: 'Bal du Moulin de la Galette', Montmartre, Paris
- Grant Wood: 'The American Gothic House', Eldon, Iowa, USA
- Édouard Manet: 'The Grand Canal of Venice (Blue Venice)', Italy
Claude Monet: The 'Water Lilies' series
In the late 19th century, Claude Monet created a beautiful garden at his home in Giverny near Paris. Although Monet travelled and painted widely in England and France, this garden was his passion and the water lilies growing there became his most famous motif. Monet was an important member of the Impressionist school. Impressionism was about trying to recreate what the artist saw in different light and weather conditions. To create his stunning garden scenes, Monet used bold colours and loose brushstrokes. Admire his 'Water Lilies' in museums as diverse as London's National Gallery, the Musee d'Orsay in Paris and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York then visit Giverny. You'll be impressed by how carefully Monet blended his painting and gardening skills.
Vincent van Gogh: 'Le Café la Nuit'
During his short and ultimately tragic life, the Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh was denied both fame and fortune. 'Le Café la Nuit' was painted in 1888 (just two years before van Gogh took his own life) and fits into the Post-Impressionist period of art. It depicts the terrace of a busy café set against a starry night and succeeds in contrasting the dark shadows of the surrounding houses with the glow cast on street cobbles by the cafés artificial lighting. Van Gogh's later years were the most productive in his life with a recent move from Paris to Arles giving him fresh inspiration. The restaurant, on the Place du Forum, is still there and you can still dine on the terrace. If you want to compare your dining experience with the original painting, you'll find it in the Kröller-Mϋller Museum in Otterlo, the Netherlands.
Katsushika Hokusai: 'Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji'
Sagami Province, Kanagawa, Japan
Although not widely known in the West, Katsushika Hokusai is one of Japan's most famous landscape artists. Working in the early 19th century, Hokusai was a member of the Nichiren Buddhist sect, a sect that worshipped Mount Fuji as a symbol of eternal life. In homage to the mountain, Hokusai created a body of work known as 'Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji'. The series is widely exhibited around the world and at present can be seen in the MOA Museum of Art, Atami, Japan. There are many places in Sagami Province where the original inspiration for the paintings can be admired. One is the popular resort of Enoshima Island at the mouth of the Katase River.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir: 'Bal du Moulin de la Galette'
Montmartre, Paris, France
Hilly Montmartre is synonymous with art. For centuries, artists have been painting in its streets capturing both local landmarks and local characters. One of the most famous landmarks is the Moulin (or Windmill) de la Galette, located in Paris, France. The site has long been popular as a spot for parties and dancing. With his sun-dappled 'Bal du Moulin de la Galette', painted in 1877, Renoir vividly captures the party spirit. It is considered one of the finest examples of the Impressionist movement. Admire the original painting in the Musée d'Orsay and then recapture the party spirit by dining at Le Moulin De La Galette Restaurant in the shadow of the windmill.
Grant Wood: 'The American Gothic House'
Eldon, Iowa, USA
While you might not recognise the artist or the painting, you may feel a glimmer of familiarity with the subject matter. Wood's painting of a farmer and his daughter has inspired everything from advertising campaigns to cartoons and magazine covers. Grant Wood studied art in Europe during the 1920s before returning to his home town of Eldon. The house was built in the Carpenter Gothic style in the early 1880s by Catherine and Charles Dibble. Carpenter Gothic was an architectural movement that saw traditional Gothic design elements grafted onto wooden homes. The figures in the forefront of 'The American Gothic House' represent typical small-town Americans of the period. The painting can be seen in the Art Institute of Chicago while the house is now a museum known as the American Gothic House Center.
Édouard Manet: 'The Grand Canal of Venice (Blue Venice)'
A contemporary and countryman of Monet, Édouard Manet fell in love with Venice when he visited it in 1875 shortly after the Franco-Prussian War. His 'Grand Canal of Venice (Blue Venice)' is an Impressionist recreation of the city's most iconic waterway. With his bold shade of blue and broad brushstrokes, Manet successfully captures the bustle and dynamism of the Venetian canals. While the waters of modern-day Venice might not be quite as blue as Manet depicted, you can still capture the essence of his work with a gondola ride through the architectural wonders of Venice. You'll find the original painting in the Shelburne Museum, Vermont, USA.
An artistic tour of the world
Do you want to visit other real-life destinations from famous paintings you can actually visit? Recommendations include the 'Willy Lott's House' (John Constable) in Suffolk, England, 'Lake McArthur' (James MacDonald) in British Columbia, Canada, 'Chalk Cliffs on Rügen' (Caspar David Friedrich) on Rügen Island, Germany and 'View of the Colosseum' (Giovanni Paolo Panini) in Rome. If you've enjoyed our short artistic tour of the world, why not continue it with the help of BudgetAir?
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