The filmmaker Jean Renoir, son of Impressionist painter Pierre Auguste Renoir, described how his father “looked at flowers, women and clouds in the sky as other men touch and caress.” Impressionism is generally conceived of as purely visual, an optical exploration of light dappled surfaces and shifting colours. Renoir: Intimacy instead focuses on the central role of tactile sensations in Renoir’s canvases. In all the different phases of his long career, working in a variety of genres (including group scenes, portraits, nudes, still life’s and landscapes), Renoir powerfully evoked the sense of touch. Renoir: Intimacy reveals the ways Renoir made use of the tactile qualities of volume, material and texture as a vehicle to depict intimacy in its different forms, from social intimacy among family and friends, to the erotic, and how that imagery is viscerally connected to the sensuality of the artist’s brushstroke and the physical surfaces of his paintings.
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