“A Saved Man”

I admire Renoir for the valor with which he carried on his work into old age, arthritic hands and all. I don’t care much for his nudes. Nor am I as fond of Boucher as he was, but I get pleasure from his comment on “Diana Leaving Her Bath”: “A painter who understands nipples and buttocks is a saved man!”

boucher diana

François Boucher’s “Diana Leaving Her Bath,” 1742. Credit Mathieu Rabeau/RMN-Grand Palais.

It’s also stimulating that “the masculine is evoked” by the package prominently displayed by the hound dog at the picture’s margin. Evoked indeed! That would have escaped my notice if Roberta Smith hadn’t pointed it out in her article.

A more interesting Renoir nude is the “Boy with a Cat,” perhaps inspired by Manet, according to Smith. As someone owned by a cat, may I say this: Doesn’t the cat steal the show a bit in this painting?

renoir boy with cat

Renoir’s “Le Garçon au Chat (Boy with a Cat),” 1868. Credit Patrice Schmidt/RMN-Grand Palais.

Smith pronounces the creature “one of the most beautiful felines in Western painting.”

(Roberta Smith, “Looking Twice at Renoir and O’Keeffe (Ida, not Georgia),” NYTimes, 8-8-19)

(c) 2019 JMN

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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