The Doge's Palace, 1908 by Claude Monet

Monet was keen, when able, to travel to other cities and regions in order to paint what he saw. He visited Venice, just once, in the fall of 1908. He worked on a relatively small number of paintings while in the beautiful city - there are just 37 canvases. Monet liked Venice but struggled with the subjects and themes presented to him in the city. The "beginnings" that he took home were later completed in his studio. It may have been that so many had already captured the essence of Venice, it might have been because he was already so focused on his works of his garden in Giverny; when he was due to set off for his visit he wasn't even sure that he would paint, but once he arrived he felt an urge to get to work. Monet concentrated on well-known landmarks, including the Doge's Palace - as seen in this work. His visit turned into a painting campaign once he discovered the delights of a city based on water. He stayed in the Barbaro Palace on the Grand Canal, a veritable waterway of activity, with his second wife, Alice. The couple rarely left Giverny, so the visit was both pleasant and shocking for them. Alice's letters home to her daughter Germaine Salerou were eventually published by Philippe Piguet (Germaine's grandson) in a book entitled, Monet et Venise, in 1986.

Monet's work began in Venice on October 9, 1908, where it was ruled by the daytime sun. Mornings were taken up with the monuments facing St. Mark's Square. He would then turn his attention to San Giorgio, before concentrating on da Mula Palace after lunch. He was enamored with the view from his hotel window - where they moved after their British host had to leave Venice. They were even excited by the electric lighting in the hotel, which meant Monet could continue working into the darkness - they would return home and have electricity installed in Giverny, The couple finally left Venice on December 7, 1908. Alice's health began to deteriorate not long after they arrived home and they never managed to return to Venice. Monet's second wife died three years later. It was virtually two years after leaving Venice that Monet began to complete his 37 paintings.