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Impressionists, like Realists, did not paint the mythological and religious themes of the past. They focused on the fleeting moments of daily life (Gardner & Kleiner, 2014). In this painting it depicts people gathered in a dance hall engaged in conversation and dancing, which aligns with the theme of this movement.
There is a speed and spontaneity of brush strokes, characteristic of the Impressionist movement.
There is a focus on light and color that Renoir depicts in the sunshine and shade. This is characteristic of the Impressionist movement.
Renoir played with color until it created the effect he desired. In the Impressionist movement, advancements in scientific study of light and color helped artists explore and use complementary colors and lighting.
Leisure time was a part of the new, industrialized Paris after the Industrial Revolution (Gardner & Kleiner, 2014). People's schedules became more structured so they were able to plan ahead for major events and celebrations. This painting depicts this characteristic of the social context of the movement.
In this work, the viewer is meant to feel like they are a participant in the fesitivities. You get the sense that this moment is a fleeting moment in time, also characteristic of the art of this movement.
References Gardner, H., & Kleiner, F. S. (2014). Gardner's art through the ages: The western perspective. Boston, Mass: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning. Renoir, P. (1876). Le Moulin de la Galette [Painting]. Retrieved from http://commons.wikimedia.org. This image is in the Public Domain.