Great Bathers essay

The impressionists with renoir prominent among them

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Unformatted text preview: paintings widely considered to be his most famous are of nude females. There is no definite reasoning behind Renoir’s The Great Bathers; in the same way there is no definite reason why Renoir’s most famous works are those of subjects 2 without clothing. Though it is clear based on the historical background given by Nochlin that Renoir was painting works that rejected the reality of the industrial revolution and sought to create a nostalgic view of a more “natural” past. “The Impressionists, with Renoir prominent among them, at this early point in their existence as a group, were calling into question the traditional practices of the high art of their time by representing bathing, as well as sailing and rowing, as a contemporary activity, carried on in bathing suits and bonnets, in a context of urban social relaxation rather than an elevated, classical topos represented by artificially posed nudes in idealized pastoral landscapes.” (Nochlin 458) So Renoir was not heading in the same direction as his Impressionist colleagues. While the Impressionist movement was pursuing realistic scenes of urban pools surrounded by fully clothed women, Renoir was staying with the traditional portraits of women in the nude. Perhaps the public also had a subconscious nostalgia for pre- industrial times; choosing Renoir’s traditional approach to depictions of women. Nochlin attributes the fame of these pieces of art to the largely patriarchal society of Renoir’s time; “…Renoir’s bathers embody a whole tradition of masculine mastery…” (Nochlin 451) At the ti...
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This document was uploaded on 03/06/2014 for the course ENGCOMP 0200 at Pittsburgh.

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