Nude Boys on the Rocks at Guernsey 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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This painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir was done in 1883. It is a simple painting done on canvas with oil paint

Renoir used impressionism technique, which was not popular at the time.

Not all artist accepted impressionism style in the 1880s. The technique was probably undermined because of its simplicity.

Some artists perceived it inadequate for an exhibition. It entailed small and thin strokes of a brush. Although they were visible, they looked incomplete and messy. The painting appeared unrefined and certainly done outside the studio.

Despite the low opinion of some artist, Impressionism had a unique and original aspect in all the paintings it was applied. For instance, in this painting by Renoir, it plays a major role in depicting scenery in its most natural appearance.

Impressionism was about capturing an image or item in the most realistic and literal form. No addition of refinery or figurative information. The technique was about understanding the themes and issues as they were.

Light characterises painting done with this style. That is why most of them are outdoor scenes. In this case, Renoir paints boys enjoying nature.

Impressionism might be simple, but Renoir was keen on how he chose colours. Every object is portrayed in its rightful colour. For example, the water is blue because of its reflection of the sky. The rocks have a shade of brown colour while the nude boys have a light shade.

Nude boys on the rocks in Guernsey painting shows young boys playing in the river. They were probably having a bath and decided to swim as they play. This era must have a time when children were carefree, and they were never self-conscious. They seem to have a good time and not afraid that they are doing something risky.

The painting reflects how life was simple and even primitive in the 1880s. People bathing in the river as opposed to what people do in the present age. These boys may act carefree, but they are wise to choose a safe place to swim. This part of the river has rocks, which indicates it is a shallow place for the young boys to play.

The water velocity is also moderate so, it is unlikely for them to be carried away. David Hockney famously captured a Man Taking a Shower in a more modernist approach to everyday life. He would also paint the charming Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy and American Collectors.

The painting is an appropriate item to educate people in the present age. It shows how life was in the past and people can use it to learn and appreciate how life has evolved. Today, it is not a norm for young boys to go and swim or play in the river. Life is modernised, and instead of rivers, people use swimming pools. Rivers are mainly found in rural areas while most people prefer urbanisation.

Rivers and other natural resources have also been polluted and depleted. Swimming in rivers would cause diseases and infections. It is a painting that reminds us how much we have negatively changed the environment and made it inhabitable. We cannot manage to go back to how it was in the 1880s, but the painting is an inspiration for rehabilitating and protecting the environment. The painting is available and suitable for outdoor or interior décor.