Pierre-Auguste Renoir

A few weeks back I created a post on Five of My Favorite Painting Styles. I began the post by expressing my love for traditional art. Number one on my list was Impressionism, so I decided to create a follow up post that focuses on Pierre-Auguste Renoir, whose paintings have captured me from the very beginning of my art journey. 

Renoir was born on February 25, 1841. He was a French artist who helped lead the impressionist movement. In his early life, he was inspired by modern painters, Edouard Manet and Camille Pissarro. In April of 1874, his love for them encouraged him to join both artists, including a few others, in creating the first impressionist exhibition. The exhibit itself was largely unfavorable, but Renoir's work was well received.

Renoir's primary subject was the female's nude body. These paintings captured the warm sensuality of a woman's curve through candid compositions. His paintings were light, sensitive and full of life. But nudes were not the only subject Renoir was interested in. He also painted children, flowers, fruit, landscapes, riverbanks,  the ocean, festivities and more.

When taking his work outdoors from the studio to paint en plein air, Renoir, alongside close friend and famous artist, Claude Monet, discovered that shadows were not black or brown, but carried the reflected color of the object that surrounded it. This technique was called diffuse reflection, and it changed the way impressionists represented light. Way to go, gentlemen! This diffuse reflection caused Renoir to become obsessed with the way light bounced off the water, and how people's reflection looked in the water.

On a trip to Italy in 1881, Renoir came across the works of Renaissance masters, which influenced him to begin a path towards classicism. This did not last long! Shortly after, Renoir shifted gears once more, going back to his roots while engaging in a smaller paint stroke that resembled his earlier works. From this moment on, he submerged himself into painting nudes, which he is most known for today.

Although Renoir developed rheumatoid arthritis, he continued painting for 20 years, even with the limitations the disease caused him. A prolific painter, he created well over a thousand works of art before passing away on December 3, 1919.

Here are a few of Pierre-Auguste Renoir's most notable works of art, and my personal favorites.

Le pĂȘcheur Ă  la ligne

Giovane Donna in Un Paesaggio a Cagnes

Chrysan The Mums

The Bathers (1919)

A Woman With a Dog Portrait of Madame Renoir

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Figures On The Beach

A recommendation:

Renoirthe movie, was released in 2012. Director Gilles Bourdos does an outstanding job capturing the painter's life and passion for art. The scenes are as light, vivid and captivating as his works of art. It makes for the perfect 'date night' movie. 

You can watch the trailer here.

A portrait of Renoir

I hope this post will spark in you a desire to see more of Renoir's work. Begin by watching the movie, or by going to see his paintings up close at the Met. Have fun getting to know this great impressionist master and his works of art! 

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