La Promenade

7:00 AM

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, La Promenade, 1870

It's a fleeting moment.

Even the technique itself seems blurred, the motion of the piece drawing the viewer up the hill with the lovers. The leaves around them mix into their clothing, making it difficult to discern where the bodies end and nature begins. They dissolve into their surroundings, with the nature around them just as important as their journey up the hill. Renoir draws all attention directly towards the woman. Her companion fades into the greenery, the angle of his body only serving to direct the movement of the piece. She glows through the stretching branches and leaves, the white of her dress striking the viewer immediately. The most important part of this to me is her face. It is lit up as if by its own private sun, her expression gently coy as if she's trying to make her companion think she's shy or even nonchalant about their little climb.

It is such an approachable piece, one where you can almost hear their footsteps on the ground, bodies pushing past crinkly leaves and feet snapping branches. Renoir exhibits an amazing ability to create an entire scene with his work, from the part that can be viewed to the part the viewer can feel, smell, and hear in their own minds. In many other Impressionist pieces, the work is beautiful and moving but also very confined. Here, the piece extends beyond its boundaries and encourages the viewer to look beyond their own as well.

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