U is for Umbrellas

‘The Umbrellas’, a painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir c. 1881 – 85 an oil painting on canvas, held in the  National Gallery in London, shows an urban landscape – a crowd of fashionable Parisians in the rain under their umbrellas with a little girl in the foreground carrying a hoop. I like the contrast between the feathery brushwork of the people in the background and the harder outlines of the umbrellas and the precise drawing of the woman and little girl in the foreground. I also like the composition with the figures at the sides cut off as in a photograph and the way the painting conveys such a sense of the movement  of the bustling crowd.

An ABC Wednesday post illustrating the letter U.

R is for Renoir: La Loge

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841 – 1919), French Impressionist Artist

I’m spoilt for choice, but on reflection I think La Loge (1874) is my favourite painting by Renoir.

The ‘loge’ is a box at the theatre nearest the stage. This painting is my favourite Renoir because of its fine detail within an Impressionist painting. I love the precise depiction of the lady’s face and jewellery, the soft fabric of her dress, its flimsy lace bodice and cuffs and the splashes of red against the black and white. She is the focus of the painting with the gentleman behind her in the background, but my eyes are also drawn to him with the light glinting on his opera glasses.

This is a painting that draws our attention to where the people are looking – the gentleman is looking up at other people and the lady has put down her opera glasses and is maybe showing  herself to the audience. There is an ambiguity about this painting, which always has me wondering just what is going on.

There is a detailed description of this painting on The Courtauld Gallery’s website, where the painting is held. I was disappointed it wasn’t on display when I visited a couple of years ago.

An ABC Wednesday post.