There has been no painter who has exhibited such a distinctive eye for beauty as Pierre-Auguste Renoir, the French painter and draftsman who also happened to be the Impressionist movement’s most popular practitioner. Renoir defined his art as being simply ‘pretty’, his main motive for showcasing and painting pretty portraits and landscapes was a means of distracting the viewer from the other unpleasant and ‘ugly’ things surrounding the environment. Renoir is one of the most highly regarded artists of all time, he is known for having revolutionized the technique of using brushstrokes for painting and using bold outlandish colors.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir was born on February 25, 1841 in Limoges, Haute-Vienne, France to a tailor and seamstress. Renoir’s working class upbringing had a profound impact on him, due to the harshness of the life his family faced during his early years made Renoir consider art as an alternative realm where one can escape from the sad realities of the world. The beauty Renoir has so magnificently captured in his works masks the tough life he had to face as a youngster and afterwards when he was a struggling artist. Renoir had the exceptional skill of using just the right colors to capture the light in his paintings, almost giving a movement like feel to them. Renoir’s expertise lay in painting human faces with a few landscapes in between. Renoir’s approach towards painting was heavily inspired by the classical style, which influenced other artists like Picasso. Opportunities came rarely to Renoir due to his early struggle as an aspiring artist, but when he could he travelled to Italy, England, Spain and Germany to study the works of artists he admired. Renoir purposely steered clear from having serious subject matters in his paintings, he is known to have said he would never even consider painting an ‘unpleasant’ subject or object. He wanted his art to be pretty, something which ran in parallel to the ruthless world.
Renoir contribution to art is vital as he was one of the first artists who highlighted the importance of structure in paintings. Apart from his sensational light effects, Renoir was adamant that without proper structuring and composition a painting would cease to exist. This became his monumental style and teachings which he left behind as well. For him art was more than throwing in a few paints, it required deep composition and meticulous structuring. Renoir’s famous piece, Misia Sert is the epitome of his artistic style. There is a woman beautifully dressed in the most recent styles of Paris gazing pensively, and just like with all his paintings Renoir has been able to capture her face and clothes marvelously using the perfect blend of colors. Her face and clothes literally glow as if a light is shinning down on them. Later on in his life, due to another trip to Italy Renoir’s art work took a more linear and classical approach. This can be seen in his piece Mother Nursing her Child, the painting is somewhat a mirror into his private life as well. Renoir painted this using his wife and infant son as his models. They also went on to be his prime models in many other of his paintings including Two Sisters, and The Swing. Pierre-Auguste Renoir continued his artistic experimentation well into his mature years, including painting some semi nudes. Even those were painted in his distinct beautiful style.