This is a canvas painted in oil by Pierre Auguste Renoir in 1876, and which is currently exhibited at Musée d'Orsay, possibly the place where the most important collection of impressionist art is treasured.
And within Impressionism, without a doubt, one of the most emblematic masters is Renoir, for his incredible mastery of creating intense games of light and shadow, and in this sense his work En el columpio is one of the most outstanding paintings. And the fact is that we must bear in mind that we are being presented with a scene inside a forest, and both the characters and the space are only illuminated by the light that filters through the treetops, so that we can see those games of light and shadow in the faces or in any element of the landscape such as the litter floor or the trunks.
On Renoir's swing
On the other hand, we must highlight the enormous naturalness with which the scene is presented to us, so that the viewer automatically feels integrated into it. This is a very characteristic quality of Renoir's art, a painter who was able to make the border between representation and reality disappear.
And if light is a waste of talent, the same can be said of the treatment of color, since it poses endless games of contrasts, contrasting andharmonizing cool and warm tones.
If we look carefully we will see that using a series of colors that become dominant and that are manifested in large areas or in details. For example, the ocher yellow color of her hats stands out, but the bows that run through the girl's dress also attract attention, all of them painted in an intense blue and very contrasted with respect to the clarity of the dress.
Actually, the colors are used to make a series of experiments in the transitions between the different shades of green, pink or blue, something that is achieved by applying more or less light, more or less shadow to those tones.
A very interesting exercise is to compare this impressionist work with the painting The Swing by Fragonard, one of the emblems of rococo art made just a century before. The differences are enormous, starting with the swing itself, since in Renoir's case, it is a very slight movement. And of course the treatment of vegetation and light is completely different. Although, in some way it represents the same thing: a courtship scene, in one case between bourgeois from the end of the 19th century and in another between a couple of aristocrats from 100 years earlier.