Nude in the Sunlight - by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Out of a riot of glittering brush strokes rises this stunning Nude in the Sunlight. "The most simple subjects are eternal," said Renoir. "The nude woman, whether she emerges from the waves of the sea, or from her own bed, is Venus, or Nini; and one's imagination cannot conceive anything better." The coloring and texture of the body indeed suggest rare sea-shell tints.

Evidently Renoir was delighted with the freshness and spontaneity of this sketch and chose to leave it so. The pearl-like shape and luster of the forms is the major theme, given in the round mass of the haunches and belly, the breasts, shoulders, head, and echoed in the roundness of arms and neck; and a dappled sunlight that plays across the arms and body sustains this motif. Nothing is allowed to distract from the fullness: notice how Renoir has virtually eliminated surface markings like the nipples and navel.

The girl is completely a thing of nature; only Renoir's recurrent bracelet and ring betray a note of feminine vanity. The grasses suddenly part, the scene becomes to our eyes a hubbub of color streaks, and before us is this unforgettable vision of a forest creature, a Rima to delight and trouble the senses.