The Impressionist Movement has bestowed the art world with not just ethereal silhouettes and eclectic masterpieces but also world-class artists. Claude Oscar Monet and Pierre Auguste Renoir are two such revolutionary and trailblazing contemporary artists who transformed the artistic landscape.
The two artists being contemporaries were also fast companions as they often traveled together. The togetherness between these two brilliant Impressionists birthed a commonality of perspective which made them stain the canvas with the same point of view.
Monet as an Impressionist is known for more convoluted brushstrokes while Renoir paints without a clearly defined center which is a huge distinguisher between the two. So, to understand their individualistic styles, let’s delve deep into their common composition of the Paddling Pond.
Artistic Similarities between Renoir and Monet
The art circle is surely a small and intimate one where often artists become the heavenly influenced by one another. The same camaraderie was shared by Renoir and Monet with evident similarities even though they emerge as distinct artistic personalities.
While both of them were master Impressionists, their backgrounds feature soft, contrasting, and unmixed colors over which both of them use broad brushstrokes that were a trademark of Impressionism. Renoir and Monet seemed to capture the fleeting moment of nature like capturing the shimmering effect of the reflection of sunlight dancing over the water.
The two Impressionists were a fan of the very raw and unfinished quality of work painted spontaneously standing amidst the bounties of nature. Even with similar techniques, Monet focused more on light and emotion while Renoir was more inclined towards his subjects being the centerpieces. But, both of them painted Le Grenouillere (The Frog), capturing a scenic popular spot in a suburb just outside Paris.
La Grenouillere by Claude Oscar Monet
The exhilarating La Grenouillere, painted in 1869 became an addition to his art collection
which now hangs at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. This is Paris’ prominent boating and a bathing spot near Bougival on the west side of it. Monet’s preferred spot to paint was always outdoors where he could pen down the images that flash in front of his eyes. So, when Monet painted this, he was living near this beauty with an early flame of his.
This painting is an exemplary blend of light and movement where his classic trademark of glistening water waves makes it all the more appealing. Doing this live Monet used thick brushstrokes as part of his Impressionism aesthetic which made the water move flawlessly.
The brushstrokes give a rough image of the whole painting to the onlooker but at the same time making it a complex summer day scenes-cape. The most beautiful thing about this is even though one can’t clearly figure out the bathers; it looks like they are enjoying their leisurely hours.
The composition in its entirety looks utterly simplistic featuring two rowing boats in the lower-left corner with a background of thick summer leaves constituting quick and confident strokes, forming enormous swaying trees. The pier where some figures are seen laying under the shadow of a tree looks like a mini island. In front of this are empty boats exceeding the canvas, making the front perspective look extremely real.
Le Grenouillere by Pierre Auguste Renoir
Pierre Auguste Renoir painted this exclusively beloved painting, revered by art aficionados, in the summer of 1869, the same as Monet’s. This waterside bar was a common hang out place for Parisians and even local tourists for its sheer breathtaking views and lively environment.
Renoir also like Monet painted this masterpiece en Plein air where the optical effects of sunlight can be captured at its natural best. Renoir was hugely inspired by Japanese art in the form of woodcut prints which were arriving in abundance around Europe. The exotic culture embedded in Japanese prints which commanded vivacious hues deeply provoked Impressionists to embrace the beauty outside.
Alike, Monet, Renoir also made the water dance toying with the element of light featuring sharp brushstrokes, emulating the look-feel of moving water making heavy use of green as yellow tints. Renoir has also made excellent shadows as one can see the boats perfectly blurry in the water, enough to make it realistic. At first glance, one could very well gauge the monotone pattern of the color palette that is exploited here to its optimum potential.
The focus of Renoir’s painting, as opposed to Monet’s, is the large structured platform upon which the crowd is standing. Just like Monet’s unfinished look of half-cut boats glazing the canvas in the extreme corners, Renoir, too, features the same.
Renoir focuses less attention on the play of light and darkness, bringing the attention to the passersby to depict the pond as the ultimate hang-out spot. Renoir’s painting perspective is also far less complex and more straightforward with concrete details beautifying the stained canvas all the more.
The Bottom Line
The reproduction of the Paddling Pond is found here https://www.1st-art-gallery.com/Claude-Oscar-Monet/Claude-Oscar-Monet-oil-paintings.html was recreated on a canvas with en Plein air technique adopted by both the Impressionists in context.
Monet, a master painter inches more towards picturesque landscapes being the centerpieces of a panting. On the other hand, Renoir grabs attention through the figurines, making them the subject in matter. With many similarities and equally surmountable differences, the two painters wove magic on a canvas that lasts long after them.