Claude Monet, the water lily obsession, by Nicolas Thépot
What if you could dive into Monet’s water lily pond? Thanks to Nicolas Thépot's virtual reality work, Claude Monet, the water lily obsession, you can head to Giverny and visit the garden that inspired the famous Impressionist painter.
After his education at the Estienne School (École Supérieure des Arts et Industries Graphics), Nicolas Thépot – aka Nicotepo – went to work with Gédéon Programmes as a director, most notably of music videos and intros for television. In 2010, he set up a collaborative television programme dedicated to the creative web, L’Œil de Links, which would go on to be broadcast on Canal +: this was the beginning of the internet on television. Passionate about new technologies, he eventually collaborated with the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée de l’Orangerie, for whom he created the VR work Claude Monet, the water lily obsession, available for viewing from 12th November 2018 through 11th March 2019. Virtual reality arrives in the museum.
Among the water lilies
Claude Monet, the water lily obsession is aptly named. Translating Claude Monet’s monumental, even manic work on his water lilies, the VR project is an immersive experience where visitors can explore the Water Lilies in an unprecedented way within the Musée de l’Orangerie, where the eight panels are on display. Wearing a headset offering a 360° view, spectators move through the heart of his property in Giverny, where the artist had created his "water garden". After a walk through this impressionistic natural environment, the colours of which vary depending on the lighting, the visitor arrives in the Normandy workshop, as it would have looked in 1926. All accompanied by classical music improvised by George Lepauw.
Experiencing the exhibition
Produced by Lucid Realities studio, the Claude Monet, the water lily obsession project marks 100 years since the installation of the original Water Lilies series at the Musée de l’Orangerie. The display of these paintings, chosen from among 250 (completed between 1914 and 1926) at the end of the First World War, was the result of the friendship between Claude Monet and George Clemenceau. Offering an innovative supplement to an exhibit devoted to their relationship on display in 2018 as part of the Year of Clemenceau, Nicolas Thépot’s work makes it possible to appreciate Monet’s painting from a different perspective, while discovering the relationship that existed between these two men. The “Sistine Chapel of Impressionism”, as the painter André Masson dubbed it in 1952, is thus brought to life thanks to technology.
Claude Monet and Impressionism as a whole contribute to the richness of French cultural heritage and its international renown. Thanks to the VR work Claude Monet,the water lily obsession, the central figure of this pictorial movement – which began in 1872 with his famous Impression, Sunrise – becomes all the more accessible.
The project received the VivePort Developer Awards’ Best Art & Culture VR experience award in 2019, the Silver Muse Award at the annual meeting of American Alliance of Museum (2019 – New Orleans), the Grand Prix at PiXii Festival – Sunny Side of the Doc (2019 – La Rochelle), the special mention of the jury at FIFA – Experientia (2019 - Montreal) and the award for best interactive work at the Montreal International Festival of Films on Art (Canada) in 2019. It has been selected at VRHAM (2019 - Hambourg), at Sandbox Immersive Festival (2019 - Qingdao), at Festival International des Arts Vidéos de Casablanca (2019) and at Festival National du film d'animation de Rennes (2019).