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“One morning, one of us ran out of the black, it was the birth of Impressionism.”

Pierre Auguste Renoir is considered as the leader in Impressionist style. In this article, we will introduce the painting carrier of Pierre Auguste Renoir, one of the greatest exponents of Impressionism and how he becomes a leader of it.


Renoir was a French painter born on 25 February 1841 in Limoges from an average family. The future painter was very interested in music and drawing from the childhoods. Later, he worked as an apprentice in the company Lèvy Frères of decorated porcelain. The young artist learned to use brushes and colors decorating plates and cups, but the real artistic formation began in 1862 at the lessons of the sculptor Callouette.

At the Ecole des, Beaux-Arts Renoir was an undisciplined schoolboy to follow the styles and pictorial models proposed by the course of studies, and he established a friendship with Claude Monet for the same artistic ideas.


In the spring of 1864, Renoir and his friend’s painters rebelled to this follow the styles and pictorial models and began to experiment with the method called “en plein air”, painting together in the forest of Fontainebleau. In this place, Renoir painted his first outdoor artwork Jules Le Coeur Walking His Dogs in the Forest of Fontainebleau. The choice of the location was peculiar, given that it had already been the scene of various drawings with natural subjects. These meetings led Renoir to experiment new point of views against the conventions of his period.

Through this new method to paint “en plain air”, he began the artistic revolution that led him to be a leader of Impressionist style. They refused to represent the noble customers and valued the emerging bourgeois society of Paris.


For Renoir, Painting was the joy to live and the happiness of a life of all that surrounded. The artist’s paintings still kept the rules of the colorists and realists, but the jury of Salon did not accept them, and his paintings were excluded from the marketplace. Before Impressionism, paintings represented the rigid rules of the perspective and the need to rationalize the space. The impressionists questioned all these principles.

The factors that represented this pictorial revolution were the new arrangement of space and the modern use of colors. Through the new method “en plain air” Renoir focused his attention on the colors of nature and the reflections of the light. His artistic evolution did not represent the mere imitation of these models, but it’s shaped by his creative instinct. He studied the Parisian bourgeois life and the effects of light without the contours of the forms. The artist discovered that the tones of the shadows were actually not brown or black which were just reflected by the things around them.

With Dance at the Moulin de la Galette of 1876 Renoir created all the main characteristics of Impressionist style perfectly and painted through a new method of color that expressed the sensation of movement and mood.

Bal Au Moulin de la Galette

For these reasons, people regarded his fantastic artwork Dance at the Moulin de la Galette as the symbol of Impressionism and more probably the most famous masterpiece of his career. Moulin de la Galette was a favorite restaurant where people went dancing outside. We can feel the joy of Parisians’ life which involved all the classes in the bar along the Seine for a seemingly dull life. The painting was exposed at the third Impressionist exhibition, and this was the last event of Renoir. The whole artwork is pervaded by a peaceful feeling with people smiling at all the social classes, and there are flashes of light.

About the style of painting, he created the spaces and volumes through color combinations with a sinuous and filamentous pattern. There are warm and cold tones giving the feeling of a bright and vibrant brightness. For example, the women’s dresses of the two dancing couples on the left side stand out in contrast with the male clothes through the different light.

There is a constant study on the effect of sunlight in the artworks of Renoir with the use of light brushstrokes and soft edges which gives a beautiful grace on the figures. We have the feeling that the scene continues beyond the limits of the painting and it seems the frame of a movie is in continuous development.

La GrenoulliereRenoir painting of La Grenoulliere

Renoir was undoubtedly a controversial and entertaining artist who left an indelible mark on the history of art. His works still influence generations of painters, and his way of understanding life remains fascinating a century after his death.

Source: https://www.handmadepiece.com/