Pierre-Auguste Renoir's 1881 painting Roses and Jasmine In A Delft Vase marks the artist's shift away from the style he had played an integral part in creating. That year, Renoir began to study the works of the Renaissance painters in Italy and started a series of world tours to broaden his knowledge of the painterly craft. Roses and Jasmine In A Delft Vase is thus part of Renoir's 'Ingres period' in which he favored a more classical style informed by underdrawing and a broader reproduction of figurative outlines, appearing to reject the Impressionist style he had popularized.
Forty years old and open to new ideas, the artist traveled to Italy, where he was startled by the frescos of Raphael. Renoir was immensely impressed by the Renaissance master, particularly the clarity of form and seeming ease of structure and composition. This new period of artistic output was also referred to as Renoir's 'harsh' period, as he emphasized size, form, and volume rather than color and brushwork.
For almost the whole of the 1880s, Renoir would focus on the precision of his subject's contours, more pronounced reproduction of shapes, more muted colors, in search of a complete pictorial art form that brought to mind the composer Richard Wagner's dream of a total work of art. It seems the tipping point was when Renoir became convinced that the Impressionist style was no longer capable of depicting the varied tactility and hues of human skin that he noticed during a trip to Algeria.
The artist did not completely abandon Impressionism, as in the bright and luminous color palette of Roses And Jasmine In A Delft Vase; the viewer can see the artist in a transition phase between two periods. This still-life painting was executed more realistically than the way other modern artists worked. There is an excellent attention to detail as Renoir beautifully represents the way the light shines on the white vase decorated with blues florals patterns. The same care was applied to the actual flowers and leaves of the still-life. The artist balanced the composition as he placed some stems with leaves lying on the table, on the left corner of the canvas, in opposition to the flower arrangement that falls to the right.
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