La Grenouillère

7:00 AM

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, La Grenouiller, 1869

Renoir was not only influenced by the great painters before, such as Titian and Raphael, but also many of the artists with whom he spent a great deal of his time. Renoir was not married until he was 49 and used much of his free time with the "impressionist clique" of whom he was a part. Other members of the group whom Renoir was particularly close were Monet and Bazille. The three men frequently painted each other, and occasionally alongside each other. The men lived together and spent most of their time together, so it is not surprising that they sometimes chose the same scenes. One example of this similarity in scene is in 
La Grenouillère, painted here by Renoir and Monet. Though it appears the paintings were done at different times of day, with different arrangements of the boats, it is thought that the two set up their easels right next to each other when they painted these.
Claude Monet, Bain a la Grenouillere, 1869

The paintings epitomize what the Impressionists were trying to accomplish. Both paintings use blurred brush strokes to capture a moment in time, yet Renoir seems to focus on the clothes of the elite people enjoying a day on the river. Monet takes a different approach by focusing on the look of the water and boats. Though both paintings are of the same scene, Renoir’s seems cluttered and weighed down by the blue-green shade he used in the trees, while Monet’s scene seems to be a further out view of the same scene. Because of this, Monet shows the top of the tree line in the distance, which removes the feeling of weight to the viewer.

Though both paintings highlight different aspects of the scene, I prefer the Monet because it highlights the happy feeling the people on the lake are feeling during their afternoon of leisure. Renoir’s use of dark colors, though it fits with his blue motif, seems to give an unnecessarily dark feeling to the image that I don’t like.

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