When the painting was created it was painted during the peak of what is known as the second Industrial Revolution or the Technological Revolution. This was a period when mass production took the manufacturing process to the next level. Consequently, the rivers in France became cesspools of manufacturing waste and dross much like parts of China are today.
When Monet sat on the banks of Giverny and painted, this river was a foul smelling cesspool with ugly things floating by. He painted what was beautiful and left out the ugly. Sort of like making "chicken poop into chicken soup."
Today the Traversée de Paris a la Nage races, a 2.5k and a a 10k swim were cancelled due to "...of manifestly insufficient quality for swimming" [despite] "significant improvements in recent years.."
Some 3,300 swimmers were left in the lurch but it would have been a grand site to see to watch 3,300 swim through France. I would love to do that race but I fear that it would again get cancelled next year due to fickle conditions.
The management of water resources is very difficult - If it were easy Australia today would be a world power most likely feeding all of Asia with agricultural products with grand cities dotting the outback from east to west. It a shame that they don't take some truly bold initiatives to do some thing about it but "terraforming" Australia to make it habitable is for another blogger.
But the Parisian authorities now say the race cannot go ahead because the river water is "of manifestly insufficient quality for swimming" despite "significant improvements in recent years".
The Préfecture de Police de Paris (PP) also made the decision to halt the race on Monday, according to France 24, on commercial grounds.
The Paris police headquarters argued that the race - which takes a total of four hours - in France's busiest river would cause unacceptable delays on the river's busy commercial and tourist traffic and potentially put the swimmers in danger.