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La Victoire de Samothrace, Unknown, 190 BC

Dance at the Moulin de la Galette

Renoir

1876

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In the 19th-century, many artists turned away from historical painting to represent authentic scenes closer to home.

This gives us incredible insight into what life was like at the time.

The Moulin de la Galette was a windmill on top of the hill of Montmartre, on the outskirts of Paris.

The name means "the Pancake Windmill".

Every Sunday, its owners would turn part of the windmill into an open-air dance floor.

Parisians would flock up the hill to party - including many artists who had their studios nearby.

As writer Zola described it : "We rushed off into the countryside to celebrate the joy of not having to listen to any more talk about politics".

As an Impressionist, Renoir was intent on the experience of the real world, capturing the effects of light and the atmosphere of these moments.

He painted outdoors, setting up the large canvass in the garden next door.

Fun fact : Renoir painted two version of this scene.

The smaller version was bought for $78 million in the 1990s - but almost disappeared when its owner asked to be cremated with it!

La Joconde, de Vinci (1519)

Next:

The Ballet Class

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