Activities: Renoir

Detail from Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919), Young Woman in White Reading, 1873

Detail from Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 'Young Woman in White Reading' (1873)



Take a moment to look at the painting.

  • Describe the mood of the scene, using visual evidence from the work to support your answer.
  • Describe the brushwork used; refer to the dress, the sitter’s face, the settee and backdrop.



Compare this painting with Renoir’s later work Les Parapluies (Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane). What changes, if any, can you see in the artist’s style? Compare and contrast the works according to the following characteristics:

  • genre
  • composition
  • paint brushstroke
  • depiction of light and shadow



Define... Portraiture/Genre Work

Renoir’s depictions of women in domestic settings “blur the lines between portraiture and genre-painting". Differentiate between these two terms and decide which category you think best describes the painting using visual evidence from the work to support your answer.

Create your own... Impressionist Portrait/Genre Work!

Ask a friend or family member to pose for you in a room of their choice and draw them using chalk pastels to indicate areas of light and shadow. Like Renoir, focus on the sitter rather than the backdrop, recreating the folds and patterns of their clothing. Consider whether the setting has impacted on the mood and atmosphere of the work. Does it tell the viewer anything about the sitter?