Friday, 18 December 2015

Taipei – Monet: Landscapes of Mind at the National Museum of History

Monet:  Landscapes of Mind
Monet is one of my favourite artists.  I can’t explain exactly why but I love all his hazy, dreamy paintings.  I never expected to run into a Monet exhibition in Taipei.  I was having breakfast at the hotel when I looked out the window and saw advertisements for the Monet exhibition at the National Museum of History on the sides of the buses.  After Googling for more information online and trying my very best to read the local newspaper articles about the exhibition, I headed off to the National Museum of History in delight.  

The view of the museum from the botanical gardens
A gazebo in the Taipei Botanical Gardens.  Ideal for shooting Chinese period dramas.  
The National Museum of History is situated next to the Taipei Botanical Gardens.  Entrance to the botanical gardens is free. We strolled through the lush greenery towards the museum.  There was a beautiful pond next to the museum with water lilies.  It would have been beautiful during spring when the water lilies were blooming. 

Bird life in Taipei Botanical Gardens
There were a few species of birds in the botanical gardens, busy with their daily activities.  I spotted ducks, water hens and herons. 
Intricate details of a ceiling beam
The National Museum of History, Taipei
As the Monet exhibition was situated outside the museum, we didn’t visit the museum.  As you can see, the museum building is quite impressive and very Chinese-looking.  The small garden in front of the museum was beautifully landscaped with gazebos, bridges and flowers.  I didn’t realise this when I was at the exhibition, but the Taipei Botanical Gardens and the National Museum of History had collaborated to recreate some famous scenes from Monet’s paintings – a Japanese arched bridge,  garden with waterlilies and a sailboat.  How very thoughtful! 
Japanese bridge directly outside the main entrance of the museum
Photography was not allowed inside the exhibition venue.  The exhibition consisted of 55 paintings from the Musee Marmottan Monet in Paris.  They included caricatures by Monet (did you know that he used to be a caricaturist?), portraits of his friends, paintings of his gardens (waterlilies!) and some of his later works when he had begun to lose his eyesight. 
Some of the exterior walls were painted in the style of Monet
I had great fun at the souvenir shop.  There was lots of Monet-themed stationery to be bought as well as things like mugs, plates and even a specially made scarf by Lanvin.  I bought some prints of waterlilies and had my photo printed on a souvenir postcard with Monet’s painting of a sailboat in the background. 
Yes, I got a bit greedy...........
The best thing about the exhibition was that it was relatively inexpensive.  An adult ticket only cost TWD280 (about MYR37).  Souvenirs were also inexpensive – a mousepad cost TWD45 (about MYR6).  Since Taiwan shopping wasn’t my cup of tea, I spent my money at the Monet exhibition instead! 

I wouldn’t mind visiting Taiwan again.  Public transport is convenient and cheap, the shops are always open and the people are very polite.  If I were to go there again, I would try to have my visit coincide with some cool international events such as an art exhibition, a Hermes leather exhibition or a Cirque du Soleil show (I missed Ovo by one day when I was in Taipei) as such events are hard to come by in Malaysia. 

Happy holidays!

P.S. This was an extremely difficult post to write as I kept typing “money” instead of Monet.  

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