"Pierre-Auguste Renoir and the Beauty of Life"

Essay by Nikki18College, UndergraduateA+, April 2004

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Pierre-Auguste Renoir was one of the leaders of the Impressionist period. The Impressionist period was light and spontaneous, which was against the formal way of the years before. It captures people in carefree leisure with color and light. In Renoir's early years, he stuck to painting beautiful landscapes, but broke away from the movement in his later years for a more disciplined and structured technique for portraits and figure paintings. Renoir painted the beauty in what he saw; the beauty in life. Moreover, he beautifies some of them even more than they are. The pictures may be appealing, though the subjects he is painting are not. He manages to paint the beauty in life's simple pleasures, such as motherhood, children, and of course love. Renoir was once quoted saying, "Why shouldn't art be pretty? There are enough unpleasant things in the world". (Nicolas Pioch)

One of Renoir's earlier paintings was "The Gust of Wind (1872)".

In this painting, it's as though one can see the swaying of the trees, the rippling of the grass, and the floating of the clouds over the hills. Renoir captures the motion of the wind in the painting, which is a challenge for any artist. It's incredible that he could capture a moment like that in a still life painting. The painting is as if someone was walking across a field on a glorious sunny day as a breeze blows through every strand of grass. It makes a viewer feel as though they are actually in the field, and can look around at the peaceful, serene environment, and just enjoy the moment. A moment where every person can appreciate the beauty of mother nature.

By the mid 1880's was when Renoir moved to painting portraits and figures with a more formal technique. One...