Main | Art magazine | It's time for fun. ‘Moulin de la Galette’: Renoir's largest painting that will leave no one indifferent.
It's time for fun. ‘Moulin de la Galette’: Renoir's largest painting that will leave no one indifferent.

It's time for fun. ‘Moulin de la Galette’: Renoir's largest painting that will leave no one indifferent.

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French Impressionist painter Auguste Renoir painted many wonderful paintings, but ‘Ball at the Moulin de la Galette’, has always been on a special account: too much labour, moral and physical effort Renoir had to spend on this painting, however, and the result was worth it - it is not by chance that it was recognised by many art historians as an unqualified masterpiece. The painting is on permanent display in the French Museum d'Orsay, but sometimes it is taken to the world's largest museums, for example, in 2015 it was presented in the Hermitage, having organised a separate exhibition for one painting. Those wishing to see Renoir's masterpiece queued up in huge queues, but all these inconveniences paled into insignificance when you could plunge into the cheerful and tantalising atmosphere of a real Parisian pub.

Auguste Renoir. Ball at the Moulin de la Galette

By the way, a reduced author's copy of this painting was sold at the Sotheby's auction for 78 million dollars, and the cost of the basic canvas, no one even takes to estimate.

About the history of the creation of the painting and what efforts Renoir had to write it, we will talk about in this article.

Isaac Israels. The Moulin de la Galette dance café

One day, sitting in a cosy tavern ‘Moulin de la Galette’, which was located in Montmartre, not far from the famous mill, immortalised in the paintings of many artists, Renoir sketched a small sketch of the ball taking place there. And he had an idea: what if he painted a picture according to all the canons of impressionism in the open air, but not on the banks of the Seine, not on a deserted street or in the park, but in the thick of the dancing crowd, as this ball would be seen by an ordinary visitor to the pub.

Pablo Picasso. Moulin de la Galette

Renoir moved to Montmartre and soon became his own among the local public. And that place was more than remarkable: beggar artists every evening argued about art, relaxing with wine, and even absinthe, drifted their frivolous models, girlfriends and muses, most of whom were not distinguished by special morality. Throughout the day, the numerous children of these models, whom the kind-hearted Renoir fed with biscuits and milk, ran along the street.

Paul François Quinsac. Moulin de la Galette

Renoir was a shy man, and here he had to paint every day in public view, working with dozens of sitters and models. But everything went surprisingly smoothly: helped local artists, who were flattered to contribute to Renoir in the creation of another, unseen before the masterpiece. And with models turned out to be even easier: Renoir chose the girl he liked, met with her mother and offered to pay for posing. There was no refusal - to work with a famous and respected artist in full view of everyone is much more decent than posing nude naked who knows who, which many model and engaged in.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Moulin de la Galette

Three whole months of 1876 Renoir painted ‘Ball at the Moulin de la Galette’ - for a painting in the style of Impressionism a huge period of time. But also the size of the canvas was to match - 131 × 175 cm, and only with the help of friends Renoir was able to drag the canvas to the dance floor. No one had ever painted ‘live’ such a large-scale picture, where many people are resting, dancing and having fun. It would seem easier to create a few dozen sketches, and already on them in the studio to finish the work, as all artists did at the time. But Renoir was more interested in the sunlight shining through the leaves of acacia trees, and the most authentic it could be written only on the plein air. But the light became a full participant in the action, setting that extraordinary mood of cheerful carefree, which permeates the whole picture.

Pierre Auguste Renoir. In the Garden (Under the Trees at the Moulin de la Galette).

Except that the painting was not appreciated at first, and the artist's wise mother, Madame Renoir, said: ‘50 years will pass, and only then people will finally be able to understand the painting of my son.’ So long to wait did not have to wait. Renoir received well-deserved recognition during his lifetime, but only now many of his paintings are appreciated.

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