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The Great Bathers

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, French, 1841 - 1919

Geography:
Made in France, Europe

Date:
1884-1887

Medium:
Oil on canvas

Dimensions:
46 3/8 × 67 1/4 inches (117.8 × 170.8 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:
1963-116-13

Credit Line:
The Mr. and Mrs. Carroll S. Tyson, Jr., Collection, 1963

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Label:
Although this painting depicts a fleeting moment when one bather playfully threatens to splash a companion, it has a timeless, monumental quality. The sculptural rendering of the figures against a shimmering landscape and the careful application of dry paint reflect the tradition of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century French painting. Renoir--in an attempt to reconcile this tradition with modern painting--labored over this work for three years, making numerous preparatory drawings for individual figures and at least two full-scale, multifigure drawings. Faced with criticism of his new style after completing The Large Bathers, an exhausted Renoir never again devoted such painstaking effort to a single work.