The sculptural rendering of the figures against a shimmering landscape and the careful application of dry paint reflect the tradition of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century French painting. Renoir–in an attempt to reconcile this tradition with modern painting–labored over this work for three years, making numerous preparatory drawings for individual figures and at least two full-scale, multifigure drawings. Faced with criticism of his new style after completing The Large Bathers, an exhausted Renoir never again devoted such painstaking effort to a single work.

http://www.philamuseum.org/collections/permanent/59196.html

Pierre-Auguste Renoir was a French artist who was a leading painter in the development of the Impressionist style. As a celebrator of beauty, and especially feminine sensuality, it has been said that “Renoir is the final representative of a tradition which runs directly from Rubens to Watteau.”

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