Bathers Playing with a Crab

Bathers Playing with a Crab

c. 1897

Pierre-Auguste Renoir

(French, 1841-1919)

Oil on fabric

Framed: 75.5 x 85.5 x 10 cm (29 3/4 x 33 11/16 x 3 15/16 in.); Unframed: 54.6 x 65.7 cm (21 1/2 x 25 7/8 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1939.269

Description

After viewing Renaissance paintings during a trip to Italy in 1881, Renoir attempted to bring a greater order and stability to Impressionism. He expressed this new ambition in a series of paintings of nude bathers, a subject that preoccupied him from 1883 until his death in 1919. In this painting he combined the loose, shimmering effects of pure Impressionism with the observations of solid forms in space derived from Italian Renaissance art. At the same time, the luminous colors and the long graceful curves of the backs, arms, thighs, and hair echo the soft, rounded forms of clouds and waves, suggesting a harmony between the figures and their surroundings.

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