Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Art Review - "Celebration at the Moulin Rouge", Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France

Maybe it's a side effect of social distancing, but lately I've found myself drawn to paintings that depict large numbers of figures interacting.

For #museumtourtuesday, I'd like to share one such painting by Giovanni Boldini that Kimberly and I viewed last August at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.

"Celebration at the Moulin Rouge” • Giovanni Boldini • Circa 1889 • Oil on Canvas
• 96.8 cm x 104.7 cm
Boldini beautifully balances the one on one interactions of the figures in the painting with the overall cacophony of the scene. I find myself drawn to three distinct areas in the painting - the women with the red scarf, the woman in the purple scarf and the woman in white who looks directly at us. This creates a perfect triangular composition, but there are so many other details to be explored, I find that my eyes cannot rest.
"Celebration at the Moulin Rouge” Detail
The first area I'm drawn to is this couple. The red in her scarf matches the red of the background, grabbing my attention, but I find that my eye does not linger here as her face is mostly in shadow.
"Celebration at the Moulin Rouge” Detail
By contrast, this woman's face is lit and painted with more detail. The purple of the scarf also presents a contrast with the red background. Another interesting contrast throughout the painting is the cartoon like rendering of the men by comparison.
"Celebration at the Moulin Rouge” Detail
Finally, there is the woman in white, who gazes almost directly at us. She's not as clearly defined as the woman in the purple scarf, but her gaze captures the eye and leads us directly back to the original couple to her lower right. Also notice the woman with the red tie to the left. Small details like this sprinkled throughout the painting keep the viewer exploring the entire canvas.

Painting photos by Saunders Fine Arts.

© Patrick and Kimberly Saunders, Patrick Saunders Fine Arts, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s authors/owners is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Patrick Saunders for painted works, or to Kimberly Saunders for photographs and/or videos, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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