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Pierre Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)

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9 months ago

February 25, 1841 in the town of Limoges in southern France, the fourth child was born in the tailor’s family – a boy named Pierre Auguste. A few years later, the entire Renoir family moved to Paris. From early childhood, Auguste was distinguished by excellent drawing abilities, as well as a magnificent voice.

The head of the church choir, where the young Renoir sang, even advised his parents to think about their son’s musical career (by the way, it was Charles Gounod, who later wrote the famous opera Faust). But the family of the future artist was not rich, and his father saw a different future for his son – the prestigious and well-paid work of the artist in china.

So, in 1854, at the age of thirteen, Auguste entered the porcelain factory. The young man liked this profession, he quickly learned and began to paint cups and saucers, and then entire services. At the same time, the young man often went to the Louvre, where he painted, inspired by antique sculpture and painting by the Rococo artist Francois Boucher, who wrote light genre scenes. Over time, Renoir began to copy them in porcelain paintings.

The young man, desperate at first, tried to paint products with great speed, which did not bring him success. As a result, he had to look for other earnings. The time has come for temporary work with the constant development of various techniques. Renoir first painted fans and walls of Parisian cafes, then accidentally got a job as a curtain master. By the way, he mastered this technique to perfection and again began to make good money, but the artist did not want to rest on his laurels, since this occupation was definitely not the limit of his dreams. Renoir set aside all the money he earned on a new dream – painting at a special School at the Academy of Arts.

Auguste Renoir quite often worked together with another prominent representative of the young impressionists, Claude Monet. Artists painted from the same nature, observed light and shadow in nature, and studied the possibilities of the palette in conveying these effects. An example of their union is the famous paintings “Frogs” – paintings painted not only from one nature, but also named the same. The plot of the paintings is simple – a floating cafe with a fun audience on the background of wooden boats waiting for their passengers.

Last years

The artist still traveled a lot. In 1894, a second child appeared in the Renoir family – the son of Jean. And in 1897 a small incident happened. It did not portend in itself any problems. The artist unsuccessfully fell off his bicycle and broke his right arm. During recovery, the master learned to write with his left hand. But even after a complete healing of the fracture, Renoir did not leave constant severe pain. So began severe arthritis, which did not leave the artist for the next twenty years of his life, gradually fettering movements and facial expressions, twisting his fingers, and then completely causing paralysis. Alina did everything possible to save her beloved spouse, however, after each short-term improvement in his condition, relapses invariably occurred. Friends often came to visit the painter,Renoir himself did not stop working until the last day of his life. In 1901, his third son Claude was born, who became the most beloved model of an aging artist.

Renoir paintings were exhibited at many exhibitions in Paris, New York and London. They brought him well-deserved fame. And in 1900, the artist became a holder of the Legion of Honor, and ten years later – an officer of the order.

In 1909, the painter creates two more paired works: “Dancer with Castanets” and “Dancer with Tambourine” (both – National Gallery, London), in which a clear influence of Renaissance art is revealed. Plastic bodies, calmly contemplative expression, drapery and abstract background bring them closer in style to the frescoes of the great masters of the past. The works are very decorative, the figures of the dancers as if descended from an old frieze.

The work "Gabriel with the Rose" (1911, Musee d’Orsay, Paris) is very different from the "classical" portraits of the master. The canvas palette darkened, the model does not dazzle with a sparkle of eyes and a radiant smile. But clearly more plastic study of volumes is evident. But it’s all early, it is obvious that the aging artist admires the smoothness and tenderness of the skin of his heroine (Gabrielle was a relative of his wife and helped her with raising children).

With the outbreak of World War I, the elder sons of the Renoirs went to the front, both of them returned, but wounded. Alina tried her best to help her children, but, not having endured the emotions, she died. Renoir continued to write in a wheelchair, overcoming severe pain in his entire body, until his death on December 2, 1919.

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