Monet's Argenteuil Basin with a Single Sailboat: Mindfulness and Art

Impressionistic landscape painting of a  river, trees on the riverbank, buildings on the horizon and a white sailboat.
Claude Monet (1840–1926), Argenteuil Basin with a Single Sailboat, 1874. Photo © National Gallery of Ireland.Credit

We're continuing our Mindfulness and Art series with this short guided-mindfulness video focused on Argenteuil Basin with a Single Sailboat, 1874.

Take 3 minutes to look closely and immerse yourself in this calming painting by Claude Monet (1840–1926).

If you're in the Gallery, you could use your own headphones to listen to the video as you look at the painting. You'll find it hanging in Room 3.

Watch the video

This guided mindfulness was written and recorded by Mary Dowling.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is deliberately pausing and paying attention to the present moment, without judgment. It gives us time to connect with ourselves and the world around us, fully experiencing what’s going on. We can practice mindfulness by spending time looking at an artwork, and it can be a very helpful tool to calm and settle our busy minds.

Some tips

  • Relax: Give yourself permission to relax as you look at the painting. Calm and focus your mind.
  • Breathe: Notice your breath as you breathe in and out. Don't try and change your breathing; just breathe as normal and become aware of it.
  • Release: Pay attention to how your body feels as you look at the painting. Are you holding tension anywhere? Check in with your back, your shoulders, your neck, your jaw, your eyes. Soften and relax.
  • Forgive: Allow your thoughts to come and go. Don't worry if your mind wanders, just gently bring your focus back to the painting.
  • Accept: Don't let outside noises bother you. In fact, accept any sounds or noise and let them become part of your experience of looking at the painting.

Fast facts

In 1872, Monet fitted out a boat as a floating studio; from it he painted numerous views of Argenteuil, the River Seine and its banks. By embedding himself in nature in this way, he could closely observe the fleeting effects of light and the changing seasons upon the landscape. Read more about Monet's painting

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