Feeling nostalgic for the classic paintings of yesteryear? Looking at one too many abstract, postmodernist works of art might have that effect. For #ThrowbackThursday, we're revisiting an oldie but goodie from French painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
The title of the Renoir oil painting featured today in the Art Gallery Page-A-Day® calendar is “Jenues filles au piano” (Girls at the Piano). It's a WYSIWIG (What You See Is What You Get) of a title that features a blonde in a white dress playing the piano, with a brunette in a pink dress leaning upon her chair, glancing at the music book.
Renoir completed the painting in 1892 under commission by the Musée du Luxembourg. If you've seen prints and postcards, and are dying to see the real thing, it's on display in rotation at the Musée d'Orsay and the Musée de l'Orangerie in Paris, and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
This painting showcases the fact that Renoir was a fan of all things beautiful and feminine. This predilection of Renoir's was no secret—he often depicted pretty women in flouncy dresses adorned with flowers.
In spite of his love affair with the female form, Renoir didn't wed until the age of 49. His wife, Aline Victorine Charigot, had served as a model for Renoir, and already given him a child five years prior to their marriage. She is even pictured in what is perhaps Renoir's most famous painting, “Luncheon of the Boating Party” (hint: she's the girl on the left in the flowered hat playing with the pup).
After Renoir and Charigot wed, he continued to use her as a model, along with their first child, and the two more that followed. All of their children managed to inherit Renoir's artistic gene. Jean became an award-winning filmmaker, Pierre went on to become an actor (who occasionally acted in his brother's films!), and Claude became a ceramic artist.
Renoir painted as part of the Impressionist movement, which is known for thin yet defined brushstrokes, attention to light, the use of everyday subjects, and the capturing of movement. The unique brushstrokes of the Impressionist movement often give paintings a glassy or blurry, dreamlike appearance. Renoir's Impressionist colleagues included the likes of Monet, Manet and Degas.
There are plenty of #ThrowbackThursday paintings to behold in the Art Gallery Page-A-Day® calendar. Check it out for more throwbacks to the art of yesteryear.