Renoir Among Women. From the Modern to the Classical Ideal

Art, Painting
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Renoir Among Women. From the Modern to the Classical Ideal
© RMN - Grand Palais (musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski

Forget the 'among women' part of the title. And forget the 'from the modern to the classical ideal' part of the subtitle. And if you like, ignore the explanations on the signs in the museum. Hang on to the part about 'Renoir'... and friends. Because here you'll find Picassos, Cézannes, Maillols, and even some Casas and Santiago Rusiñols.

Years and years ago you wouldn't have seen such quality paintings exhibited in Barcelona, but not even a year has passed since the inaugural exhibition at the Fundación Mapfre in the Casa Garriga Nogués, with masterpieces from the Orsay and the Orangerie. Who needs to go to Paris?

The 'Bal du Moulin de la Galette' is one of a dozen of the works of art that everyone knows. It was shows in Barcelona in 1917, the first time that it left Paris. And now it's back for a visit. No other painting could better depict modern life in 1876: industrialisation, urban classes, leisure time, and the budding social role of women... Women who are still the object, not the subject, of history, and who here are shown in both tradition and modernity, desire and motherhood, the passion of urban life and harmony with nature.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919) started his career as an impressionist painter. In 1880 he suffered a crisis and travelled to Italy, where he decided to revisit the greats: Ingres, Rafael and Tiziano. But this step backward in time wasn't a step backward for him as an artist. Modernity is characterised by an intelligent update of traditional models. Women are an excuse for a leap into an aesthetic vacuum. And this exhibition is another excuse to just enjoy great painting.

 

 

By: Ricard Mas

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