The Umbrellas

Here, men, women, and children walk down a crowded Parisian street in the rain. The snapshot composition is typical of Impressionist works, where the scene is focused on the center and cut off at its edges. This type of composition creates the effect of a scene that extends beyond the limitations of the canvas itself. The 5 year period throughout which Renoir worked on “The Umbrellas” marks a shift in his career through variation in his technique. In 1880, when Renoir began the work, he used the light colors typical of the Impressionist movement. However, throughout the early 1880s Renoir moved away from Impressionism as he looked to past masters, and thus began to favor a darker palette and sharper brushstroke. He ultimately repainted the woman on the left using a style closer to that of Ingres than that of the Impressionists.

Creator: Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Date: about 1881-6

Original Medium: Oil on canvas

Original Size: 180.3 x 114.9 cm

Location: National Gallery London