Pierre-Auguste Renoir - The Large Bathers

 

 

Pierre-Auguste Renoir - The Large Bathers - 1884-87
Philadelphia Museum of Art

Although this painting depicts a fleeting moment when one bather playfully threatens to splash a companion, it has a timeless, monumental quality. Renoir in an attempt to reconcile this tradition with modern painting labored 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 The Large Bathers, an exhausted Renoir never again devoted such painstaking effort to a single work. At the end of his life, he was suffering from severe rheumatoid arthritis. He turned once again to the bathers as a subject and painted several versions in a much different style. You can see him painting at home: http://bit.ly/2laNiNp . A lovely movie about this time in his life is “Renoir” which can also be found on youtube. 

 

Ed Wheeler

Santa Classics, 2601 Pennsylvania Ave, Apt 712, Philadelphia, PA 19130