My name is Zoé and I love impressionist painters, reading all day curled up in bed, listening to the rain, my panda, France, candles and fairylights, tea, Miles Kane, that Irish warmth, BN biscuits, England despite all opposition, architecture and interior design, wearing matching underwear, avocado, being so thunderstruck by a band that nothing else matters, jasmin and vanilla, travelling, Harry Potter through and through, Martin Freeman, the sounds of spring, daydreaming, and plum jam.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Le Moulin de la Galette, 1876.
A facet of Paris that drew the Impressionists’ attention was the leisure activities of its inhabitants. Scenes of dining, dancing, the cafe-concerts, the opera, and the ballet were mainstays of Impressionism. Although seemingly unrelated, industrialization facilitated these pursuits. With the advent of set working hours, people’s schedules became more regimented, allowing them to plan their favorite pastimes. Le Moulin de la Galette by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) depicts a popular Parisian dance hall. Some people crowd the tables and chatter, while others dance energetically. So lively is the atmosphere that the viewer can actually hear the sounds of music, laughter, and tinkling glasses. The painter dappled the whole scene with sunlight and shade, artfully blurred into the figures to produce just the effect of floating and fleeting light the Impressionists cultivated. Renoir’s casual placement of the figures and the suggested continuity of space, spreading in all directions and only accidentally limited by the frame, position the viewer as a participant rather than as an outsider. Whereas classical artists sought to express universal and timeless qualities, the Impressionists attempted to depict just the opposite—the incidental and the momentary.