A Visit to Monet: The Immersive Experience
I first discovered the works of Claude Monet when I was in high school. I don’t know how or when but I do know that it was life changing. Prior to discovering Monet and Impressionism I had never really thought about art but once I learned about it a whole world opened up to me. I started reading all about artists like Van Gogh and Degas, began going to art museums regularly and ended up majoring in art history in college. All thanks to Claude Monet. Needless to say, his work means a lot to me. So when I was invited to visit Monet: The Immersive Experience I immediately cleared my Saturday to check it out.
Located in Montebello, Monet: The Immersive Experience is a traveling exhibition devoted to the famed Impressionist. Utilizing cutting-edge technology, its aim is to immerse the visitor in the world of Monet and his artwork. Thanks to the subject matter, I was intrigued to check it out but had no idea what to expect and, honestly, had my concerns. How could the experience be immersive? Would it be like those pop-up Instagram museums where they use a bunch of cheap props to entice you to get that perfect pic? I was really clueless.
As soon as I entered the exhibit, I realized my concerns were unfounded. In the first exhibition room was a number of placards introducing the visitor to Monet, Impressionism and even color theory. I was immediately transported to my college days and was happy to see the subject matter taken seriously.
From there I entered both an interior and exterior recreation of the artist’s famed home in Giverny.
I’ve long wanted to visit his home but have yet to make it to France. Though I can’t say this was a sufficient replacement for the real thing it was still enjoyable to wander through the flowers and see a rendering of the famed lily ponds.
I was already having a lovely time when I encountered the pièce de résistance of the exhibition. As I mentioned, it’s called Monet: The Immersive Experience and the word immersive is not taken lightly for the main attraction is a 360° experience of Monet’s world and artwork.
In a large room there are a number of comfortable seating areas to sit down and experience the world of Monet. While beautiful music plays, digital recreations of his famed works encompass viewers in a continuous showcase. France, the Netherlands, Italy and more are brought to life before their eyes in a dazzlingly artistic display. It was utterly fascinating to watch as I sat there in wonder admiring the beauty that surrounded me.
The show runs continuously and visitors are welcome to experience it for as long as they would like. Upon exiting there are a couple more optional experiences, including an art studio where you can color your own Monet.
In addition, there’s a virtual reality experience which is included with VIP admission or available to purchase for an additional fee. I gave it a try but, honestly, did not fee it added to the experience. I found it similar to the immersive show and not very accessible to those with vision problems. I’m nearsighted and the viewer could not accommodate my glasses. Trying to use it without them made for a blurry experience that wasn’t very enjoyable. I’d recommend skipping the VR (and the VIP ticket) as the exhibition is very enjoyable without it.
I would love to visit France to see Monet’s paintings at the Musee d’Orsay and his gardens in Giverny but, so far, it hasn’t been in my budget and I suspect many others are in similar situations. Monet: The Immersive Experience is a more affordable alternative because, for a time, it virtually transports the visitor to that beautiful world and allows them an unforgettable experience. It’s well worth the price of admission but you’ll need to hurry because it’s only in town for one more week and closes on March 6. If you miss it, Klimt: The Immersive Experience debuts at the same venue on March 10 and I’m sure it will be just as beautiful.
Love Monet too, thanks, beautiful exhibit