Comparitive Essay: Young Girls at the Piano & the Piano Lesson

2844 Words Mar 8th, 2013 12 Pages
AN ANALYTICAL & COMPARATIVE STUDY OF

Young Girls at the Piano
PIERRE-AUGUSTE RENOIR

&

The Piano Lesson
HENRI MATISSE
STEPHANIE DAVIS

CONTENTS
1.
2.
4.
6.
8.
9.

Introduction
Young Girls at the Piano
The Piano Lesson
Comparison
Conclusion
Bibliography

AN INTRODUCTION…
In this research paper I will seek to comparatively analyze two distinct works of art – the 1892 painting entitled Jeunes Filles Au Piano (Young Girls At The Piano) by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Henri Matisse’s The Piano Lesson, painted in 1916.
In seeking out works as potential prospects to analyze, my decision process became a matter of immediate response – pieces that made me pause and linger while flipping through the pages were
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His portrayal is cohesive with the respect and affection he is known to impart upon his female subjects – elegant, romantic, soft, and gentle are all words that come to mind when viewing the painting.
The technique draws from Renoir’s changed style that came in the late 19th century after he felt he had “wrung Impressionism dry” – he’d evolved an approach

1

James Leggio, Music and Modern Art, 2001, 51

that incorporated the warmth of his early Impressionism, placed less focus on outlines and used thin brush strokes of individual colour to build up the painting.2
The painting was created as a commissioned piece by request of the French
Fine Art Minister to be placed in what was to be the new Luxembourg Museum in
France. Whilst the work appears effortless, easy, spontaneous, Renoir actually obsessed over the execution, starting over many times, presumably under pressure to deliver a ‘perfect piece’, as he knew it would be scrutinized. Critic Arsene Alexandre is quoted in his memoirs as saying he remembers “the infinite pains Renoir took in executing the official commission”, recalling he “began this painting five or six times, each time almost identically.” 3 Renoir had never before devoted such effort or spent so much time on a project – there were five complete paintings each with the slightest variation; a mouth slightly more

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