Monday, March 15, 2010

Painting of the Day: Le Moulin de la Galette

Le Moulin de la Galette is definitely one of my favorite paintings of all time, painted in 1876 by Pierre-Auguste Renoir. I have admired Renoir's work ever since I was a little girl when my Opa bought me a huge coffee table book of the artists various paintings. I remember admiring that book for hours and hours on the floor of my bedroom as a little girl. In this particular painting it is evident that unlike his friend Monet, Renoir maintained a deep interest in figurative painting. He was quite interested in social types, he observed the attire of his subjects very carefully; what kind of hats they were wearing, the style of the jackets or dresses, the way a woman wore her hair, how she held her body. He painted particular social types that were recognizable. This trend towards social types tells us something about the painter as well, it shows us how impressionist painting is from a psychological and physical type. Renoir invites the spectator into the scene, by adopting that very standpoint. The character thus that the painter is embodying is the casual male observer of modern life of particularly Parisian life, a character that is known as the flaneur. He paints all of these social scenes that are open to him (cafes, bars, dance halls). Le Moulin de la Galette is a very colorful scene, an idol pleasure of relaxation, and portrayal of popular Parisian life. Some of his friends appear in the image as well, but his main aim was to convey a joyful atmosphere at this popular destination. The look is carefree, glamorous, and flirtatious. This study of the moving crowd is full of natural and artificial light. He used quick short brushstrokes and quick dabs of brilliant color, which is what animates the work.

Courtesy of Xiamen Red Fire Art Co., Ltd.

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