French Impressionist painter Pierre Auguste Renoir (1841 – 1919) is one of the most famous names in the art world. His prolific paintings encompass practically everything it means to be a true artist in the sense of the never-ending pursuit to portray beauty in all its magnificence.
This search for the truly beautiful quickly became the central driving force in Pierre Renoir’s artwork. As a result, many of his paintings include the most common symbols associated with beauty, such as the female form, flowers, and of course, the breathtaking scenery of nature.
These brilliant paintings by Renoir often featured a combination of the above. However, Renoir’s paintings go even further and also include the ideas of love and social bonding as another form of intangible yet undeniable beauty. The following is a study of Pierre Auguste Renoir artwork and the deeper multitude of meanings encased within.
Le Pont Neuf Paris (1872)
Pierre Auguste Renoir – Le Pont Neuf Paris
As a primarily Impressionist painter, landscape scenery is a standard feature throughout Renoir’s collection of paintings. Renoir’s landscape paintings were one of the main inspirations for the blossoming of the Impressionist movement in the first place.
These beautiful land and cityscape masterpieces quickly became the top paintings of Pierre Auguste Renoir art and rival, if not surpass, any of the other great Impressionist painters of the period, such as the distinguished Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh. In Le Pont Neuf Paris (The New Bridge in English), Renoir’s incredible skill as a landscape painter is fully displayed.
The feeling of the bustle of the crowd and the bright warmth of Summer fill both your vision and your heart when viewing this painting of Paris. It is but one brilliant landscape painting of Renoir’s in a collection of many. Check out Place De La Trinite 2 and the Great Boulevards as some other examples.
Bal Du Moulin De La Galette (1876)
Pierre Auguste Renoir’s mastery of oil painting in the style of Impressionism and portrayal of the beautiful will forever stand the test of time. Like many other Impressionist painters, his artwork contains a magnetic dreamlike component within the tiny brushstrokes.
Bal Du Moulin De La Galette is, undoubtedly, the finest example of what Impressionist Renoir paintings are meant to stand for at their core. The scene in the painting itself is relatively mundane. However, Renoir manages to depict it with such a degree of magic and wonder that it is no surprise it is considered his most celebrated piece.
If you wanted to show someone what Pierre Auguste Renoir art stands for, this would be the painting to show them. The patented Impressionist style, the beautiful expression of the emotion of color, and the grand theatre of people enjoying themselves are all in one perfect package.
Luncheon of the Boat Party (1881)
Alongside Bal Du Moulin De La Galette, Luncheon of the Boat Party is another one of the top paintings by Pierre Renoir. It also follows the same tone and theme as the Bal Du Moulin in depicting people at play, enjoying themselves and enjoying life.
As well as containing all the tropes associated with Impressionism, it also has elements of Romanticism in that it extenuates a relatively uneventful scene and transforms it into the stuff of dreams and legend. This is another common theme found in Renoir’s paintings.
The painting itself returns to the notion that the beauty of friendship and shared happy experiences are one of the most beautiful aspects that life has to offer. Like a beautiful flower or majestic mountain top, the smiles and laughter shared amongst friends can be just as beautiful a sight to behold.
Pierre Auguste Renoir – Umbrellas
The Umbrellas is another fascinating Impressionist Renoir painting that turns an ordinary event into something more eye-catching and profound. It somehow holds within a single frame all the hopes, dreams, and ambitions humankind has ever strived for.
In this pragmatic painting by Renoir, a host of characters carouse a busy street while huddled under their umbrellas, escaping the rainfall. Like many of Renoir’s paintings, the presence of sweet-faced women and children takes up much of the foreground of the painting. In Renoir’s mind, these innocent faces embody everything true beauty stands for in its purest form.
In this foreground, one woman and two children stand without an umbrella. Just behind them, a young man approaches with his umbrella in hand. The look in his eyes is surely one of compassion, and many critics have said that both he, the woman, and the children, represent the idea of beauty being something that must be protected.
The Large Bathers (1887)
Sticking with this theme of beauty, much of Renoir’s other artworks occupy an earlier tradition of the motif stemming back to the Neo-Classical and Baroque periods. For this reason, Renoir has sometimes been referred to as the last of the traditionalists.
This more classical approach can be found throughout many of Renoir’s nude paintings. Take the painting of the Large Bathers, for example. It shares several of the themes from earlier periods of art and is way less Impressionist than some of Renoir’s paintings.
The symbol of the bathers has appeared throughout art and can even trace its roots back to ancient Greece. Renoir dedicated many paintings to Ancient Mythology and produced dozens of works alone on the symbol of women bathing as a metaphor for purity and beauty.
When studying Pierre Auguste Renoir’s artwork, several themes appear. However, the idea of life being something beautiful and worthwhile takes precedent above all else. The Impressionist painter produced some of the most sublime artworks ever seen and will go down in history as one of the most successful artists to achieve it.