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Igcse Analysis of 'La Loge' by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Updated on November 11, 2018

Visual Description of the Scene

‘La Loge’ is a painting created by Pierre-Auguste Renoir in 1874, France. The painting is in the oil on canvas medium and was created during the impressionism movement, growing popularity of Theatrical performances and change of clothing fashions in Paris. The painting depicts a woman sitting inside a theatre box with a man behind her. Both are dressed in luxurious clothes of the higher-class; the woman wearing a black-white striped gown with necklaces and earrings, while the man behind her is wearing a suit and holding up theatre binoculars to his eyes. Both are wearing opera gloves, and the woman’s hair and garments are adorned with pale pink flowers. Thick lines have only been used to portray the black stripes of the woman’s dress, and sharp, definite ones only on her eyes and facial features. All other objects have not been contoured by lines at all, adding a fuzziness to the scene. The colour palette of this piece is ‘soft’, consisting of warm and pale shades to paint the background and their clothes. The brown of the woman's surroundings adds an overall warmth to the painting. Following this trend of warmth, light pink is used on the flowers and pale shades of beige on her skin. All the colours blend into each other and there are no jagged lines, this absence of lines adds texture to the overall composition. There is a three-dimensional form given to the woman due to the shading and highlight of her body and face. The background fades into darkness, conveying the hollowness of the theatre box in which the two sit.


Artistic Techniques employed by the artist

Renoir uses the lighter colours in which he painted the woman to place emphasis on her: Her three-dimensional form and the fact that her facial features are the only part of the composition painted in thin, sharp lines also indulges the viewers to place their focus on her. The colours in which she is painted are lighter than the background, creating contrast. The warm tones of ‘La Loge” compliment each other, and the shapes are smooth and rounded, creating harmony and bringing easiness to the eye. Rhythm can be seen in the repeating pattern of her dress, and the uncomfortable position in which the man behind the lady is depicted implicates movement. Another aspect which conveys movement could be the expression of a half-smile on her face, forcing the viewers to wonder whether she is going to smile or has just stopped. All of these factors affect the painting’s audience in such a way as to make them want to linger longer and look at it for a long while, as the harmony in colour and lais-back fuzziness of the scene imitates a feeling of comfort.

So what was Renoir's purpose in creating this work?

Renoir might have been attempting to show the sophistication of members of the Parisian upper-class and their lavish lifestyle. The inclusion of jewellery and binoculars conveying the wealth in which these people immersed themselves. Renoir has created this artwork to address the changing Parisian fashion and the growth in popularity of theatrical productions end entertainment industry. The fact that the scene is set in a theatre may suggest that members of the upper-class such as this woman in the painting do not live in ‘reality’, their perception of life being ‘unreal’, nothing but a play on the social stage of the public’s creation. The uncertain smile on her face may support this theory. The harmony and balance of the artwork may convey calmness and security, however it may be overwhelming at first glance for some, due to the wealth shown by the subject’s clothes and manner of position/ behaviour. The inclusion of flowers, light shades and elegant line of her facial features may symbolise beauty and elegance against the dark colours of the background. The background being a representation of Paris and reality.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, I personally am very captivated by this artwork because of the many clues to possible meanings in a seemingly simple scene. The harmony and impressionistic style in which this painting was painted suggests a dream-like reality, which can be very hypnotising and beautiful to its viewers. In my opinion, Renoir has successfully managed to make his audience question the meaning of this piece and maybe even associate themselves with it in some way, making it a very good artwork. ‘La Loge’ is an important painting to the public, as it can either be a representation of their own lavish lifestyle or one they wish to achieve. The incorporation and manipulation of the art elements here are very masterful and should be displayed for all to see, as it makes its viewers inquire wether they themselves have been living in an alternate reality, just like the woman in the theatre box.

© 2018 Katya Vardar


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