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The Little Algerian Girl is a compelling artwork painted by a famous French artist, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, in 1881
Just as the name suggests, the little Algerian girl is an intriguing portrait of an attractive small Algerian girl.
Painted during impressionism era, Renoir presents the image of a small girl from Algeria on a non-fading canvas using oil. The tiny girl seems to be in perfect harmony with nature, at quite at peace with herself.
Between 1881 and 1882, Renoir regularly travelled to Algeria, a country he had associated with because of Eugene Delacroix, who was also a renowned French painter. Renoir loved Delacroix' artwork, and as a result, produced more than two dozen stunning artworks that included The Little Algerian Girl.
Eugene Delacroix was best known for romanticist classics such as Women of Algiers, Liberty Leading the People, Death of Sardanapalus and Christ on the Sea of Galilee.
The portrait depicts a pleasing little girl, with beautiful eyes that seem to be gazing out at Renoir as he paints. She also looks contented and at peace with the surrounding. The sights, the surrounding and the colours are so captivating that the audience quickly connects with the little girl.
The background of the picture reveals harmony and peace – the Algerian beauty that captured the artist. Renoir must have loved the natural scenery and the Algerian people and must have decided to represent it on canvas to create a lasting impression.
The Impressionist Dimension
Renoir was a leading figure among the impressionist in the 19th century. He combined his skills, natural fascination with beauty and impressionism style to produce stunning portraits such as The Little Algerian Girl. Although he had painted for more than a decade, no one had recognised his work.
However, the advanced technology in artwork and the new skills used during impressionism era helped propel Renoir to international recognition. The Little Algerian Girl portrait is notable for its saturated colour, vibrant light, and its open position.
Characteristic of impressionism, Renoir expresses the details of a scene using freely brushed touches of wet paints colours allowing the figures to fuse with each other and the surrounding. In this painting hardly conceals the influence of the colourism of Eugene Delacroix.
A Violation of the Rules
The era of Impressionism started in the 19th century when a group of individual painters violated the rules and regulations of academic painting. Renoir was among them, and the radicals created pictures from freely brushed solid colours that took superiority over lines and shape.
To achieve the effects of intense colour vibration, the impressionist decided to paint from outside and also capture realistic scenes of life and sunlight effects by brushing from the dull air. Previously, artists could only produce portraits and artwork in a studio. Renoir’s The Little Algerian Girl bears all the hallmarks of this period.
Renoir thrived by painting in the sunlight directly from nature as he had passion in natural scenes and beauty. The public appreciated his work believing that he can capture an original and fresh vision of the subject.
This picture of a little Algerian girl surrounded by the beauty of nature captures the imaginations of the audience compellingly, drawing them back in time to the Impressionist era. It also sheds some light into the mind of the artist, who must have fallen in love with the Algerian landscape.