Taking a look at the overall composition of Renoir’s “Bathers” and “Blonde Bather”, one must take into account the many similarities, as well as the many differences of the pieces. Renoir uses many visual elements to guide the viewer’s gaze around and through the paintings. These elements also contribute to the reactions and emotions we feel as the viewer when we look upon these works of art.
In “The Blonde Bather”, Renoir’s use of color provides a sense of the model’s innocence.
“The image is composed of mainly secondary and intermediate colors, with very little use of solid primary color. The nude’s cheeks are flushed, as if she is blushing at the act of being gazed upon. She is grasping a drape as if she were pulling it up to cover herself.”(Distel,p76)
It seems as though Renoir paid particular attention to the detail of the nude as compared to the background. The smooth, clean brush strokes and large, bovine stature provide softness to the nude when placed against the rough jagged strokes that compile the background. The contrast of light and dark between the model and the background gives the nude an almost angelic glow. To attribute to overall angelic feel of the painting, the setting takes place on coastline, which instantly invokes a sense of time and motion to the piece by illustrating the flow of water on the rocks, the splashes of sunlight throughout the background, as well as the wind blowing through the model’s hair. Overall, the piece has a much lighter tone when compared to the “Bathers”.
In terms of design, the overall balance of the painting is symmetrical. Although the nude is placed on the right side of the image, the contrast between the softness of the model and the fluidness of the water provide a sense of balance. In other words, if the nude were placed on the left side of the painting, covering the water, the dark shading of the cliff face would overpower the image, forcing a sense of imbalance in terms of...