Late Flowering

Dismissed and denigrated when they first appeared, Claude Monet’s Water Lilies came in the decades after his death to a position of prominence both as a bridge between the final stages of Impressionism and the beginnings of abstraction and as world-historical artworks in their own right. Ross King, whose magisterial Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies chronicles their origins and the end of their creator’s life, spoke with us about ambition, war, and the forces driving Monet to surpass his own greatest achievements.



We commonly associate artistic genius with youth: the composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the painter and sculptor Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, the mathematician Évariste Galois. The paradigmatic arc of genius, as conceived through our distinctly Romantic lens, begins with a miraculous …

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