Claude Monet and Pierre Auguste Renoir worked side by side for a long time and over the years. The pictures of both show that they had a very close friendship and their families coincided on more than one occasion. For example, in La Grenouillière, a place on the Seine near Paris, where they spent the summer of 1869 together, doing numerous works there. Among them is Monet's, which is now in the National Gallery in Londons.
Bathers at Monet's Grenouillière
Actually,Monet, he considered this canvas a kind of sketch of what he really wanted to capture. In fact, he himself called it “mauvais pochades” (bad painting) for being something done quickly and outdoors. Although it is true that a few years later that technique was going to be his way of working
In this method that characterized impressionist art not everything was due to the genius character of this type of artist. There were some technical elements that helped in his proceeding. For example, an invention of the time helped them a lot: paint tubes made of metal and that could be folded, rolled up and closed. Tubes of oil paint similar to those that still exist today in any craft store. And another invention that they made a huge profit from was brushes with metal clamps.
This last tool was very important. Until then the brushes had to be round. However, the metal clamps allowed flat brushes to be made, which invited a very novel brushstroke: the stain, that is, a broad, flat touch of paint loaded equally on the entire surface of the brush. This is precisely how Monet painted this canvas, which also gives his work a lot of immediacy and speed.
For example, let's look at how he has painted the water. Observing it gives us the impression that there is movement and reflections, just as we see and feel it in reality. Well, what he has painted are horizontal rectangles, combining colors and alternating soft and thick touches, of paint that is sometimes opaque and sometimes more fluid.
Everything in the painting is stains, touches of paint. Monet may have considered it a "bad painting", but the truth is that seeing his career in perspective, he is taking giant steps in his most personal style and in the foundations ofImpressionism. We can see that the distinction between color and drawing has completely disappeared, because it is these stains that give shape and also create the light of the painting. In short, it is not a bad painting but a valuable work of art.