The Spanish Guitarist 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 Spanish Guitarist is an oil on canvas painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir in 1897. Historically, the term Spanish Guitar was used differently throughout centuries and different countries.

Currently, it is interchangeably used with classical guitar, perhaps making the term not limited to instruments made in Spain. The painting currently hangs at Washington’s National Gallery of Art. Pierre-Auguste Renoir's representation of The Spanish Guitar is a hand painted oil production, square in shape that comes in various sizes, with the 20”x24” being the classic size. The painting features a sited middle-aged woman holding out a classy Spanish guitar with both arms in playing motion. The woman is well dressed, with golden impressions on her dress, a gold-coated necklace, and a cool-black hat. Pierre’s favorite themes mainly focused on indulging in life’s temporal pleasures as well as living in the moment. He expressed this better than any impressionist did.

This reflects Pierre's painting on the Spanish Guitar, which was the eighteenth-century guitar's main function, to facilitate national dance music. Pierre was a renowned leader, especially with impressionist movement. He enjoyed depicting his lovers and friends in expressive candor. The Spanish Guitar conveys a youthful enthusiasm with an intimate charm suggesting and perhaps a source of earthly paradise. The Spanish Guitar focuses on “here and now” of his time and fleeting moments whose memories are relished nostalgically. The painting is a portrayal of luminous color, nuances of light with expertly varied brushstrokes shadowed in a combination that elicits a warm sensuality. This can be easily elicited by a glance at the classy Pierre’s Spanish Guitarist paint.

Beside the Spanish Guitar portrait, Pierre-Auguste Renoir is best known worldwide for his figurative, portraiture work, apart from the series of voluptuous bathing women. He was among the first group of French painters who focused on impressionist paintings. A good work of art from Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s collection is the 1860s en plein air paint with Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley, and Frederic Bazille. Pierre-Auguste Renoir paintings, including the Spanish Guitarist, aimed at capturing fleeting effects of light using pigments especially large brushstrokes, thick impasto, and bright pigments. This contrasts the traditional building painting methods of thin glazes. Other famous works of Pierre-Auguste Renoir include the Camille Monet and Her Son Jean in the garden at Argenteuil (1874), Dance at Moulin De La Galette (1876), Jeanne Samary in a Low Necked Dress (1877), Pink and Blue Impression (1881), By the Seashore (1883), The Luncheon of the Boating Party (1880-1881) among other popular impressions. The painting is a true reminiscing expression of the early days of Spanish Guitars. It is truly an enchanting image that will long continue to captivate viewers with its musical charm that only Renoir could elicit.