A closer look: 'Luncheon of the Boating Party' by Pierre-Auguste Renoir
At first glance, the 'Luncheon of the Boating Party' by Pierre-Auguste Renoir looks almost banal. A meal of athletes with their friends or family members - what should be interesting about it? But in view of the time when the group picture was created, oil on canvas painting is like an affront: in 1881 casual get-togethers was the exception rather than the rule. And the picture shows something else: an awning moved by the wind spans the richly laid table where the oarsmen's breakfast takes place. The sun spots on the red and white striped fabric give an idea of the relaxed atmosphere of a warm day. Even with these details, Renoir reveals a good ability to observe and a lot of manual dexterity: the dishes and the dishes on the tablecloth are so lifelike that the viewer wants to access them so that they can also share in the oarsmen's breakfast. But would he be welcome or would he interfere? Although Renoir does not allow all the people in his picture to speak to each other, each one of them communicates - in a variety of ways: not unfriendly, but clearly taking out some; the others openly turning; concentrates listening the third. Renoir has also shown apathy and brusque refusal. But he does not ascribe any social role to anyone. As can be seen from the clothes, people from all walks of life take part in the 'Luncheon of the Boating Party'. A utopia? In the time Renoir lived, certainly. But he also knew that conventions could be overcome. It is not for nothing that he depicted the people in his painting in a situation and at a time that make them free and open: he chose sport as a connecting interest and morning as a symbol for a new beginning. The 'Luncheon of the Boating Party' is thus much more than the representation of a relaxed meal.