The Umbrellas, Renoir

The Umbrellas, Renoir
The Umbrellas, Renoir

If there really was an artist during impressionism who knew how to capture the atmosphere of Parisian society at the time, it was undoubtedly Renoir, despite the fact that most of his canvases are set in the rural scene, the artist also He represented scenes of urban life and idleness, both in dances and in theaters, or even in the work that concerns us here, in which the artist represents the bustling hustle and bustle of the big city.


Pierre Auguste Renoir (1841 – 1919) was one of the great figures of impressionist aesthetics in Paris. Born in the town of Limoges, the painter soon moved to the capital to continue his training there. He worked in the Levy brothers' workshop painting and decorating fans and porcelain, a fact that will leave a deep mark on his painting, especially in the representation of the famous bouquets of flowers. After his participation in the Impressionist Exhibition of 1874, the artist became one of the impressionist references and at the beginning of the eighties the artist traveled to Italy and Algiers, an experience that is even reflected in his paintings. Since then, the impressionist invoice of his canvases acquires a more classicist trend and some experts talk about how this change in the author's aesthetic is reflected in the work that we analyze here.

The work of The umbrellas is a painting made in oil on canvas ofvertical format that measures about one hundred and eighty centimeters in height and just over one hundred and ten in width. The work is currently preserved and exhibited at the National Gallery in London.

It seems that art historians raise the possibility that the canvas of The Umbrellas was painted in two different stages,the first one between the years 1881 or 1882, with a fully impressionist bill, the lady looking down and her two daughters accompanying her would belong to this period. A second, less classicist stage, painted between 1883 and 1886, would correspond to the girl with the basket made with a more traditional invoice. This hypothesis or approach that the canvas was painted in two different stages is revalued when discovering that the artist used two different shades of blue in each part of the painting.

The work also shows the influence of the Japanese print in the artist's painting with very flat shapes that can be seen in the umbrellas as well as a strikinggeometrism of some forms that take us back to Cezanne's later works. In Renoir's painting, the isolation of the new society can be seen, the characters, despite appearing so close together, do not relate to each other or establish any type of dialogue. Perhaps the most striking thing is the way in which the young woman in the basket and the smaller girl -who ignores her mother- look directly at the viewer, involving us in the canvas.

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