At The Concert was painted in 1880 by Pierre Auguste Renoir, and is also known as Box at The Opera. The artist often portrayed scenes with spectators attending theaters and operas. The identity of the women in this painting is unknown, but the atmosphere is intimate, as one of the girls looks directly at the viewer's eyes.
The 1880s mark the Renoir's shift away from the Impressionist style he had played an integral part in creating.
Forty years old and open to new ideas, he started a series of world tours to broaden his knowledge of the painterly craft. 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.
At The Concert is 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 hadhelped popularized.
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.
When At The Concert was first displayed in 1882, many art critics noticed and commented on Renoir’s change in style. In this oil painting, two young women are portrayed in sophisticated clothing while at the opera. The one on the right dresses a whitegown, has long black hair and holds a bouquet of pink roses. The woman on the left wears an elegant black dress with a pink rose on her chest, while holding sheet music. The ambiance is warm, painted in red, orange, gold and burgundy.
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