Bal du Moulin de la Galette – Pierre August Renoir

I didn’t much fancy Renoir’s Renoir
Bal du Moulin de la Galette,
finding it to sweet and romantic…

That was until I saw the original painting in Jeu de Paume in the Tuileries gardens in Paris. Standing before the painting I was totally overwhelmed: he had painted light itself! No reproduction had given me a hint of the vibrant colours and the speckled light beaming through the trees.

The painting depicts a typical Sunday afternoon at Moulin de la Galette in the district of Montmartre in Paris. In the late  19th century, working class Parisians would dress up and spend time there dancing, drinking, and eating galettes into the evening. The moulin was called “la Galette” from the pancake which was its speciality. Apart from the local clientèle, there was a number of artists who, as Renoir did, enjoyed the spectacle. Indeed, when looking for a photo of the “Le Bal” I found that other artists had also painted the same subject!

The painting hangs today at Muséed’Orsay, Paris


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