Cliffs on the Coast near Pourville Pierre-Auguste Renoir Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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The drawing of cliffs on the coast near Pourville is by Pierre-Auguste Renoir. It is a landscape drawing done with oil paint on canvas.

The artist painted it in 1879 using the impressionist technique. During this era, Renoir and his peers in art mainly used this technique. The impressionism approach entails several aspects.

As the drawing shows, impressionism is a simple technique that does not involve high-refining finishes. The brush strokes are also said to be invisible brush strokes. It was an accepted mode of painted as at that time. The major aim impressionism was to capture the moment as it was. Whatever first sight an artist got from an object or scene was what he or she was going to paint.

Since these drawings were done out of the studio, Renoir and his fellow artists never had time to mix colours. Therefore, the drawing shows a painting done with unmixed colours. Painting in the outdoors was preferred because the light had to be included. It explains why this painting and others in this category appear unfinished and messy.

Due to the difference between this technique and others, the artwork was ridiculed. It was hard for such art to be accepted in exhibitions. Despite this appearance, it does not mean that they are of low value. It was just a new style that was having a difficult time being accepted by all artists. Today, the drawing by Renoir is perceived to be beautiful, original and authentic. It may be simple but still stylish. The drawing is favourable for both indoor and outdoor décor.

The actual drawing is a painting depicting the environment. It is a cliff by the sea and a man seated at one side of the cliff watching the sea. The drawing represents the physical environment that is part of the earth. The sea, cliff, rocks and the horizon, as well as the sky, are part of the natural environment. Renoir was also keen to draw how the sea washes to the shore.

Renoir seems to have been thinking about nature when he painted it. He must have appreciated coastal features and the experience of being there. It is evident from the way the man sits in an aerial position to view the scenery. It is a beautiful sight to watch the blue sea because of the reflection of the sky. The layers of rock are also captivating considering how they have lined up all the way to the horizon.

The vast majority of famous artists from across the ages have taken on landscape painting at some point in their careers, some choosing to specialise in it. What has changed is the way in which artists depict the scenery, becoming more and more abstract in the years that have passed since the time of Turner and Constable.

Those two British painters would gift the world famous titles such as The Fighting Temeraire, Rain, Steam, Speed and The Hay wain. Piet Mondrian, a well respected 20th century artist would then dabble with traditional landscape painting with Gray Tree and Duinlandschap, before siding on a truly abstract alternative in Broadway Boogie Woogie and Composition with Red Yellow and Blue.

Renoir does not forget to include green colour to his theme of the environment. The man sits at green vegetation as he enjoys the serene atmosphere. Down at the shore, some few creatures are visible from a distance. They are part of sea animals or birds living at the shore. This combination completes the full picture of a natural environment.

This painting will always be relevant because of the theme. The topic of the environment will always be a present issue because it is what maintaining life on earth. Renoir’s drawing shows a clean and non-polluted environment. The ideal image of how people should always maintain the environment. Preserving or conserving the environment guarantees life continuity.