The subject matter of the painting consists of a group of people assembled on an outside deck that has a wooden railing and a red and white striped canopy. The deck is surrounded by marsh grass and some trees with a river visible beyond them. Upon the river a few boats can be seen, one of them a sailboat. In the immediate foreground there’s a square table with a white tablecloth on which rests several empty wine glasses with apparent red wine residue.
A few plates are also visible with fluted glasses upon them, discarded morsels of food and silverware can also be seen. A centerpiece dish of fruit composed of Grapes and pears is flanked by several bottles of red wine. A few discarded white cloth napkins have been casually cast among the dishes.
Seated to the left of center at the table in the foreground is a young woman wearing straw hat with a red flowered hat band. She wears a fine black dress with white lace edging at the neck and cuffs, a dark red scarf draped over neck and down the front of the dress. She wears a black choker around her neck. She’s holding a small brown furred dog close to her face from under its forelegs the dog sits upright upon the table facing her. Behind her to the left standing and leaning with his backside against the wooden railing of the deck, his right arm gripping the railing stands a large man, his face in profile as he looks to the right and slightly back.
He wears a dome shaped straw hat with the brim curved upwards its edge trimmed in blue. He has close cropped reddish brown hair and has a full beard and mustache of the same color. He wears a white tank top shirt and white pants. To his right along the railing several feet behind the foreground table stands a woman bent forward, her left arm and right elbow resting upon the railing as she faces the table. She wears a straw hat with a blue hat band the brim curved down. Her dresses is off white and trimmed in red that the neck and cuffs. Facing her with his back to the table sits a man wearing a brown suit and a brown and bowler hat.
Behind the woman at the railing at the far left corner of the deck facing forward stands a man wearing a brown jacket with a light blue shirt wearing a cap. Facing him standing with his back to the viewer facing left is a man wearing a black overcoat and a black top hat with a beard. In the right foreground seated facing the table on a wooden chair that is turned backward is a man who looks left toward the railing of the deck, his face in profile. He faces the woman seated opposite him who holds the dog.
He is wearing a straw hat with a flat top and black hatband its brim turned up at the back. He has brown hair and a light brown short mustache. He wears a white tank top shirt and dark colored pants. His arms rest forward on the reversed chair back; in his right hand he holds a cigarette. To his right seated at the table is a woman wearing a white brimless hat with a few blue stripes. Her dress is blue with white ruffles trimmed in red at the neck and white cuffs.
Her hair is brown a small round earring can be seen hanging from her right ear as she looks up and to the right. Standing behind her over her left shoulder is a man wearing a cream colored jacket with wispy blue stripes. He wears a white shirt and a black cravat. His hair falls over his forehead and is reddish brown. He has a small mustache and a goatee beard. He is leaning over the woman’s shoulder with his hand resting on the back of her chair, looking down at her.
Behind him in the background over his left shoulder is a woman standing facing left, with black gloved hands raised to the sides of her face. She wears an ornate black hat with feathers and a black dress. Standing next to her with his arm around her is a man with a straw hat with a red hat band, wearing a red and white striped shirt. He faces forward looking at her intently. To his right stands another man facing the woman he has his arm around.
This man has a full beard and wears a black hat. Behind him seated at the back table is a woman in a flowered straw hat who is drinking from a glass, she looks directly out of the picture plane past the table in the foreground at the viewer. A man seated to her left is barely visible in profile and past the shoulder of the man in the cream colored jacket.
The entire scene is brightly lit with ambient light from the open sides of the porch the majority of which were enters from the front left of the picture plane. The white tablecloth on the table in the foreground glows with reflected light and the glasses and bottles on the table twinkle in the light.
Part IV – Examination of the Art Objects Medium/Technique/Process Used:
The medium used is this painting by Renoir is oil on canvas. The work was painted en plein air (outside) utilizing the alla prima (wet on wet) technique and also the classical layering technique of oil painting employed by the old masters. In these processes the first step would require the preparation of a surface on which to apply the oil paint.
A linen canvas would be stretched around a wooden frame and tacked into place. The surface of the canvas would then be protected from the acidic qualities of the oil paint by applying layers of rabbit skin glue and chalk known as a ground. Next a primer of white lead paint or glue mixed with chalk “gesso” is added to provide a base layer for the painting. A rough outline of the scene would then be sketched onto the canvas as a guide for painting.
Next the creation of a palette from which to paint from would require selecting the proper pigments. (Eastlake pg.234) For the portions of this work that were painted en plein air in the alla prima technique in the Impressionist style such as the tableware in the foreground Renoir would have used portable tubes of pigmented paint.
Other portions that were executed in his studio employed classical oil painting techniques of layering colors and then glazing which creates a lustrous glow and provides the three dimensional quality of modeling. This technique is evident in the modeling of the forearm and the hand holding the cigarette of the man seated at the table in the right foreground.
Colors would then be applied to their proper regions according to the sketch starting with the darkest and ending with the lightest, a mosaic upon which the details and highlights could then be painted. Finally upon completion the painting would be sealed with a varnish to protect its surface. (Sanders pg.11)
Part V Examination of the Art Objects Composition (its Form Organization): 1. Identify and describe a specific incidence of composition from the list found below: A. Line:
Renoir uses a sharp clean line to define the arm of the man seated at the table in the right foreground. The precise outline of the arm adds to the contrast of color between the arm and the man’s white shirt, the white tablecloth, and chair adding perceived depth to the shape of the arm. In contrast Renoir’s use of line in creating the marsh grasses outside the balcony is loose and diffused, giving the grass a perceived movement and depth. B. Shape:
The semi circular shape of the awnings scalloped edge is distorted into curving points giving the illusion that the awning is swaying in the breeze adding a sense of movement to the air that is picked up by the grasses beyond it. C. Space:
The open space left of center, framed by the two men in white tank tops allows for an unobstructed view of the landscape beyond providing perspective and contrasts the densely populated right side of the picture adding to the intimacy of the assembled group. This open space also directs
the viewer gaze to the centerpiece of the table which is the symbolic heart of this painting. D. Color:
Applications red are spread about the painting accenting the amorous qualities of the subjects depicted. Most evident in the women in varying profusion and intensity, the color red highlights the garments at the cuffs and necks, in the flowers they wear on their hats, and on their lips. Although more subtle, accents of red are present on the men as blushes to their face or on their lips.
The most overtly amorous male in the right to the back wears a shirt and hat both striped with red. The most overtly sexual female seated, at the table in the left foreground has red tracing her neck and an explosion of red in the flower on her hat. Finally the red striped awning with its tong like flaps covers the entire flirtatious scene. E. Texture:
Renoir employs variations in color, shadowing, and white highlights to render the textural appearance of the straw hat worn by the man seated at the table in the right foreground. F. Pattern:
The diffused lines of blue/green create a layered pattern in the marsh grasses outside the porch rendering the effect of overlapping leaves with combined density. G. Time and Motion:
The motion in this painting is imparted by the marsh grasses and awning gently swaying in the breeze. The aspect of time slowly passing is expressed through the sailboats gliding along the river and in the leisurely poses of the subjects along the railing. 2. At the end of this set of paragraphs identify any art elements you think is not found or used in the art objects composition.