Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Renoir -- yes we opened our Umbrellas in the House Yesterday, Friday the 13th

Cobalt Blue 4oz bag $215 USD

Brief description of Cobalt blue:
Very costly and extraordinary stable pigment of pure blue colour discovered by Thénard in 1802. It is now the most important of the cobalt pigments.

Names for Cobalt blue: Pronounciation: ko • bawlt bloo Alternative names: Thénards blue, Dresden blue
Word origin: The name "Cobalt blue" comes from Middle High German kobolt = an underground goblin (cobalt was thought to be detrimental to silver ores).
Non-English names: Italian Kobaltblau
Chemical name: Cobalt(II) oxide-aluminum oxide

The Umbrellas (1883)

by Pierre-Auguste Renoir
The Umbrellas (Les Parapluies)
Renoir, Pierre-Auguste
c. 1881-85

This painting was painted during the restless period in Renoir's work. It is immediately apparent that the picture exhibits two distinct styles. The group of figures on the right is painted in a soft feathery style reminiscent of his work of the later 1870s, while the umbrellas and the couple on the left are painted in a harder manner with more distinct outlines and subdued steely colors. The exact date of the painting is not known, but it is generally accepted that it was worked on over a period of several years.

Notice how the fashions illustrated in the Umbrellas differs. The women in Renoir's paintings are usually dressed in the latest styles. The dresses and hats worn by the figures at the right conform to a fashion that appeared in 1881 and which became popular in 1882. The vogue was superseded the following year by a more sever style of dress with simple straight lines. THe woman with the band-box is dressed in this latter style which was the height of fashion in 1885-6, but which had fallen out of favor by 1887.

Renoir appears to have changed his palette significantly between the two stages. Examination of the cross-sections has shown that in the earlier phase he used exclusively cobalt blue, his habitual choice during the 1870's and early 1880's, but in finishing and revising the composition he used only French ultramarine.

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