Under Art’s Umbrella

Portrait-Of-Lise-With-Umbrella Renoir

It’s getting a little cooler here, but no rain as yet.  The umbrellas can stay dry for the moment.  The umbrella invented thousands of years ago, but became popular in the Western world in the 16th century.It  has been used in art quite a lot, more than I originally thought.

renoir-the-umbrellas 1883

 Renoir’s Lise with umbrella was painted in 1867.   Renoir features the umbrella in his Parisian street scene ‘Umbrellas’ ,  1883.  the painting is also interesting because of the way the artist is unafraid of cutting pieces of the people from the picture – like a snapshot.

In John Singer Sargent’s  (1856 -1925) painting ‘Early Morning Walk’ the model is the artist’s sister Violet, I love the way the light plays upon this painting. 

John Singer Sargent Morning Walk

 I was amazed when researching these umbrellas, just how many times Singer Sargent used these in his paintings!  Of course they’re not all umbrellas, sometimes they are parasols (to save the ladies fine complexions from the sun).  I suppose they were the first ‘sunscreen’.

Parasols as well as providing protection, were also a colourful and feminine accessory for the woman.  Even Monet painted the Lady with the parasol – and with good effect!

monet The Walk Lady with a Parasol 1875


Seurat Sunday afternoon

Parasols abound in the famous Sunday Afternoon in the Park painted by Neo impressionist Georges Seurat.  He used Pointillism –  tiny dots of colour to create this masterpiece which took him two years to complete!

But I can’t leave out Rene Magritte surrealistic ‘La Grande Guerre’ (The Big War) 1964.  This work is often compared to his self-portrait ‘The Son of Man’  this is what the artist said about ‘The Son of Man’;- 

At least it hides the face partly. Well, so you have the apparent face, the apple, hiding the visible but hidden, the face of the person. It’s something that happens constantly. Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see. There is an interest in that which is hidden and which the visible does not show us. This interest can take the form of a quite intense feeling, a sort of conflict, one might say, between the visible that is hidden and the visible that is present.      quote from here
Magritte, The Son of Man

If we compare the Grande Guerre with ‘The Son of Man’ we can see a more optimistic and tranquil picture smelling of sweet flowers and hope.

Renoir umbrellas here
John Singer Sargeant Morning Walk here  
Group with parasols by Singer Sargent here
More umbrellas from Sargent here, Monet Lady with Parasol here Seurat image here and Magritte Son of man image from here

9 thoughts on “Under Art’s Umbrella

  1. The umbrella and parasol are such picturesque props. You have chosen some nice images for your post. The Seurat painting is the glory of Chicago’s Art Institute and a must not miss work if ever you are in the Windy City. I think I’ve seen a few really gorgeous Japanese prints that featured umbrellas too. Thanks for your post!

  2. Lovely Seurat! I ‘tried’ to do a self portrait in the pointillism style. It took me ages, wasn’t successful but I learned loads! Funnily enough, I did look at some Japanese type prints when I was doing this, but just went for the paitings in the end. Have you ever found any umbrellas in that river – or whats left of them?

  3. I could not help but chuckle because this is so true! I never thought of the umbrellas in all of these masterpieces. Thank-you for pointing things out to me as I bump along my journey in art. These posts are truly refreshing and thought provoking. 🙂

  4. dear lynda,

    thanks for featuring seurat, monet and most of all, rene magritte. i am so happy to see magritte paintings and the surrealistic paintings of salvador dali. hope i can read something about dadaism and surrealism in your blogposts. wonderful inspiring masterpieces indeed.

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