This lecture situates Monet in his youth, surrounded by other visionary artists, enduring the hazards of artistic dedication: poverty, ridicule and marginalized lifestyles, while engaging in passionate pursuit of their ideals. Against a rich backdrop of period norms, culture and politics we follow Monet and his fellow painters through years of friendships and feuds, support and condemnation, his marriages and family life, deaths, disappointments and the final triumph of acknowledgement.

At the age of 43, Monet moved to Giverny, on the rivers Seine and Epte, and developed his garden and later, a waterlily pond as inspiration for his painting. This property became a hub for his contemporaries and then for a new generation of young artists. Monet described himself as a gardener and a painter, in that order, and claimed that his greatest work was his garden, which he immortalized in some of the world's most recognized pieces of art.

A tour through the seasons at Giverny will reveal why it endures as a mecca for present-day artists, photographers and gardeners: this protected endowment lives on, gloriously, as Monet's painterly monument to gardening.