La Grenouillere - by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Impressionists wanted to get away from the classical insistence on an enclosed pictorial form, a varnished surface. They wanted their painterly technique to be open-ended, and they refused to delimit their subjects in the accepted way. This approach eventually caught on everywhere in western art, and it has left its imprint on the paintings of the 1870s and 1880s.

Auguste Renoir's La Grenouillère (The Frog Pond), has all these ingredients - a sketch-like painting, which to contemporaries seemed unfinished, no carved-out details, a glitter of sun reflecting the movements of the water, the boats partly truncated to convey a sense of the passing moment, and the individual details toned down in favour of the overall picture. But, the depiction of reality is still there.

La Grenouillere by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, is a perfect example of French Impressionism. Interestingly enough, it is also a perfect painting with which to compare his style with that of his close friend, Claude Monet, who painted his own version of La Grenouillere with Renoir side by side. La Grenouillere was a resort located on the Seine featuring boating and other activities. Both Renoir and his friend Monet painted nearly identical scenes at La Grenouillere, featuring various people enjoying a small floating dock in the painting's center, as well as various boats. La Grenouillere serves as a perfect example to compare and contrast the two masters' styles.

Renoir has depicted an actual moment and life as it is lived, a fragment without any greater depth of interpretation. The theme is a new one: instead of something heroic, we have a casual, trivial excerpt from reality, held together by the lighting.