“-last words about painting, age 78…
I think I’m beginning to learn something about it.” Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Today is Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s birthday, which makes it the 178th year since his birth on February 25, 1841 in Limoges, France. We know Renoir for being a foremost painter in the development of the Impressionist style, but what is less well-known is that his talent for singing was superior to his talent for drawing. His singing was encouraged by his teacher, the renowned Charles Gounard, choir-master at the Church of St. Roch at the time, and famous composer known for the beautiful Ave Maria, based on a work by Johann Sebastian Bach.
Life has a way of unfolding in mysterious ways. Singing was not Renoir’s destiny. Instead, family circumstances, a gentile way of saying that money was scarce, prompted Renoir to pursue an apprenticeship at a porcelain factory. And the rest is history…
And what a history it was. Pierre-August would go on to meet Alfred Sisley, Jean Frédéric Bazille and Claude Monet. He was inspired by Camille Pissarro and Eduardo Manet, and studied the works of Camille Corot and Eugene Delacroix. Travelling inspired his creative spirit – Algeria, Madrid, Florence, Rome and Venice, which gave vibrancy to his paintings of faraway lands.
“To my mind, a picture should be something pleasant, cheerful, and pretty, yes pretty! There are too many unpleasant things in life as it is without creating still more of them.”
Renoir’s painting of the Piazza San Marco, Venice was the catalyst for my exploration into artists who used travel to ignite innovation into their artistic endeavours. These paintings allow us to venture back to a time and place that once was, and yet still is, only with the changes brought by the passing years.
Join me as we travel to Venice with the artists that used their paintbrushes to capture her vitality, beauty, sophistication and stories.
Happy Birthday, Pierre-August Renoir.