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Activity Idea: The Seine at Giverny, Morning Mists (Quick Tip)

Use the following strategies with Claude Monet’s The Seine at Giverny, Morning Mists

A Sensory Experience

Imagine you are a turtle who lives in this river. What are the sounds you hear? What do you feel? What do you taste? What do you smell? What do you see? What details in the painting make these senses come to life?

Put Them in Order

Monet painted The Seine at Giverny, Morning Mists from a boat he called his “floating studio.” He would wake up around 3:30 a.m. and go down to the river before sunrise. Compare this painting to two others in this series: Morning on the Seine, near Giverny (1897; MFA) and Morning on the Seine, near Giverny (1896; MFA). What hour would you assign to each of these paintings? Place the three paintings in order from earliest to latest. Discuss the visual details that helped you determine what time of day they were painted.

Pretty Properties of Pollution

Pissarro’s The Saint-Sever Bridge, Rouen: Mist depicts fog and smoke, a combination that would not be called smog until 1905. Discuss how the artist represents this environmental effect. Examine atmospheric effects caused by industry in a city or town near you. Chart and illustrate the visible effects of air pollution in the atmosphere on a sunny day and cloudy day.

Digging a Pond

The river in the painting is a tributary, or branch, of the Seine called the Epte. Define the term tributary and locate the Epte on a map of France or Normandy. Monet’s house at Giverny was located close to the Epte. We know he even diverted a branch of this river called the Ru to make his water lily pond. Determine the steps he would have had to take to do this. (For more information and images of the water lily pond, click here.[link]) Why do you think Monet would build a water lily pond when another body of water—the river—was so close to his house?


Look for a few minutes at Monet’s Water Lilies and record your initial impressions. Define the word reflection. (Consider both the literal and figurative meanings of the word.) Where is a place you go when you want to reflect on something? Make a drawing of that place. Write about a time in your life when you learned the value of reflection time. Look again at Monet’s Water Lilies. Describe how your view of the painting has changed.