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Piere Auguste Renoir: A Brief History Essay

1658 words - 7 pages

“Renoir’s particular ambition was to paint works in joyful hues from which all trace of narrative is excluded” 1, quotes Jean LeyMarie author of Renoir; And truer words about Renoir’s work can not be spoken. Pierre-Auguste Renoir was a French born painter whose collaborations with other notable artists, among them Manet, Delacroix, and Monet 2, helped to influence and shape the budding Impressionist movement. The renowned painter began his humble upbringing in Limoges, France in 1841; The son of a tailor, his parents found him work with a porcelain decorator, which was the beginning of his lengthy career as an artist, and perhaps were his passion for translucent and luscious colors were established 3. While Renoir is well known for his paintings of women, couples, and various other human subjects, his work on flowers is equally as impressive. The work this essay will discuss is the painting Chrysanthemums, painted in 1881-82. Currently located in the Ryerson Collection in Gallery 201 of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Chrysanthemums was painted in the middle years of Renoir’s career. It is a vibrant portrayal of a vase of chrysanthemums in a vase on a table, with a simple, yet poignant background. Although in today in France, chrysanthemums may symbolize bereavement and death 4, Renoir’s depiction is of a flourishing plant, teeming with life and activity. Renoir employs a cooler palate in this work; Blue greens and cool reds are used to create shadows, depth, and contrast to the painting which help to engage the viewer. The flowers sit comfortably in a vase on what appears to be a patterned white table cloth draped loosely over a small circular table. This painting is an excellent example of Renoir’s artistic style; His favor of light, but visible brushstrokes and intense hues help Renoir’s pieces stand out as uniquely him, and this relatively simple piece displays this style in a refreshing and discernible manner.
This particular piece illustrates techniques revered during the Impressionist movement; Abundant yet small brushstrokes of different colors used to show motion and light, were the unique aims of Impressionist painters that were so different from the early Classical artists work. The Impressionist Movement started in the 1870s and was intended to be an isolating term for those painters who dared to step away from more traditional types of painting. These artists did not attempt to “finish” paintings by blending the colors together to make soft, life-like gradients of color, nor attempt to mimic a meticulously correct scene before them 5. Instead the concern shifted from naturalism and realism to color, light, and sensation. Impressionists understood they were working with paint and a canvas and instead of trying to make their paintings look real, the focused on creating and stirring emotion within a viewer. Impressionists also sought to depict changes in light and the passage of time ,“impressionism attempted to depict…the...

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