The Renoirs, Père et Fils, and Watteau

Pierre Auguste Renoir the painter, who as a young man studied Watteau's work at the Louvre, loved beautiful girls as Watteau did, and in pictures like THE BOATING PARTY and LA MOULIN DE LA GALETTE we have something like what Watteau gave us in the PILGIMAGE TO CYTHERA and the FETES VENITIENNES.  As Kenneth Clark puts it, "No Marx, no Freud. Just a group of ordinary human beings enjoying themselves."

His son Jean Renoir the filmmaker also has a debt to Watteau, but it runs deeper. Like his p'pa, and like the Rococo master, he gives us scenes of enjoyment in the countryside in his PARTIE DE CAMPAGNE ( and THE RULES OF THE GAME (, but in this latter film we get the figure of Renoir himself in the role of Octave, the noble wistful outsider, in love with the pleasures of these people, and with the lady of the house, but himself a funny-looking guy, not one of them.

And in this we have the pathos of Watteau's bagpiper in the FETES VENITIENNE, and of his self-portrait as GILLES, clownish and sad, adoring these adorable creatures and their pleasures, but himself an onlooker, left out.

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