Study of Nudes


Pierre-Auguste Renoir ( French, 1841 - 1919 )

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General Description

From the 1880s onward, the motif of the female nude became increasingly central in Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s work. This large drawing, which features several nudes, was made as a preparatory sketch for one of Renoir’s monumental paintings of women bathing outdoors. Posed in an indeterminate setting, the figures undress, recline, or arrange their hair. Renoir blocked in their forms in a loose, sketchy manner, emphasizing volume over contour as he worked out the composition for his painting. His technique and use of red and white chalk were inspired by 18th-century French Rococo drawings. In the artist’s own words, using this medium allowed him to draw “in flesh and blood.”