The Large Bathers by Pierre Auguste Renoir


The Large Bathers


Pierre Auguste Renoir

Ref RX82480-D1
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Renoir’s change of direction between 1884 and 1887 was dictated by an individual approach. The spontaneity of Impressionism, as well as its traditional fondness for landscape, gave way to a gradual elaboration of composition that enabled Renoir to re-examine the problem of the nude in a landscape. Although this painting depicts a fleeting moment when one bather playfully threatens to splash a companion, it has a timeless, monumental quality. The sculptural rendering of the figures against a shimmering landscape and the careful application of dry paint reflect the tradition of seventeenth-and-eighteenth-century French painting. Renoir – in an attempt to reconcile this tradition with modern painting – laboured over this work for three years, making numerous preparatory drawings for individual figures and at least two full-scale, multifigure drawings. Faced with criticism of his new style after completing this work, an exhausted Renoir never again devoted such painstaking effort to a single work.