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Renoir's quotes on paints, women and hot pepper

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Pierre-Auguste Renoir lived an exciting, long and happy life. He used to pay for a pair of shoes or a bowl of beans with his paintings. And then he became the first artist whose painting entered the Louvre collection during his lifetime. He was acquainted with the most brilliant
women of his time, but he married a peasant woman and doted on her for all his life. Renoir could be wise, confident and crafty, but after half an hour he could doubt his own statements or admit a complete lack of knowledge and proper experience. However, all sages did the same.
Renoir at work. At the end of his life, the artist was forced to use a wheelchair as he suffered from rheumatism. Read about the creative principles (or rather, the reluctance to bind oneself to them), joys and tribulations in Renoir’s life in the artist’s biography.
You have to walk and dream. One works best when doing nothing. Before you light a stove, you need to put firewood in it.

The only thing what counts is what a painter puts on his canvas and that has nothing to do with dreams. What he is dealing with is good paint, mixed with good linseed oil and a drop or two of turpentine.

Now I understand what glory is. This is when a crowd of loafers calls you "dear teacher."
When women were slaves, they were really mistresses. Now that they have begun to have rights, they are losing their importance. When they become men’s equal’s, they will be really slaves.

But when it comes to fashion women go completely out of their minds. And it’s all to fill the pockets of the corsetmakers, who ought to be put in prison!

Get away from your wife often, but not for long at a time. After you’ve been away you’ll be glad to get back to her. If you stay away too long you may think she’s ugly when you return, and she’ll think the same about you. When you grow old together neither of you notices how the other looks. You don’t see the surplus fat or the wrinkles. Love is made up of a great many things and I’m not clever enough to explain them. But I know it is also a habit.

You do a lot of foolish things when you are young — it doesn’t matter then because you haven’t yet taken on any responsibilities. But afterwards you’d be a fool to play around with cheap tarts instead of amusing yourself with painting.
Movement can be as eternal as immobility as long as it is in harmony with nature: if it expresses a natural human function. The flight of a swallow is as eternal as the tranquillity of the "Seated Scribe" in the Louvre. The statues in the Luxembourg are over-active for intellectual reasons motives, for literary reasons. A swallow speeds through the air to catch a gnat and to satisfy its hunger, not to verify a principle.

I had to shell green peas, and I loathed it.
But I knew that it was part of my life. If I had not shelled the peas, my father would have had to, and he would not have been able to deliver on time the suit he was making for his customer, and the earth would have stopped turning, much to the shame of Galileo.

If I should choose to worship a Golden Rabbit,
I don’t see why anyone should try to prevent me. The religion of the Golden Rabbit might be just as good as any other. I can see high priests wearing long, slanting ears.

They tell you that a tree is only a combination of chemical elements. I prefer to believe that God created it, and that it is inhabited by a nymph.

I’ve hit the sky with my finger all my life.
The advantage of growing old is that you become aware of your mistakes more quickly.

There isn’t a person, a landscape or a subject that doesn’t possess at least some interest,
although sometimes more or less hidde. When a painter discovers this hidden treasure, other people are immediately struck by its beauty. Old Corot opened our eyes on the beauty of the Loing, which is a river like any other, and I am sure that the Japanese landscape
The development of the genre from antiquity to the present day: how did religion and the invention of oil painting contribute to the development of the genre in Europe, and why was the Hudson River so important? Read more
is no more beautiful than other landscapes. But the point is that the Japanese painters knew how to bring out their hidden treasure.
You always have to be ready to start out in search of a subject. No baggage. A toothbrush and a piece of soap.

At the start I see my subject in a sort of haze.
I know perfectly well that what I shall see in it later is there all the time, but it only becomes apparent after a while. Sometimes it is the most significant things that come out last.
What annoys me most about the modern theater is that it has become so solemn. You would think you were at Mass. When I want to hear Mass, I go to church!

After all, a picture is meant to be looked at in a house, where the windows let in a false light. So a little work must be done in the studio in addition to what one has done out of doors. You should get away from the intoxication of real light and digest your impressions in the reduced light of a room. Then you can get drunk on sunshine again. You go out and work, and you come back and work; and finally your picture begins to look like something.
You don’t look at painting, you live with it. You have, for example, a little picture in your home. You pay it hardly little attention, you certainly don’t analyze it. It becomes part of your life. It acts on you like a talisman. The museums are only a makeshift. How can you get excited over a picture with a dozen or so people around you whispering asinine remarks? If you go early in the morning you have a better chance.

Leonardo da Vinci bores me. He ought to have stuck to his flying machine. His Apostles and Christ are all sentimental. I am that those good Jewish fishermen could risk their skins for their faith without needing to look like dying ducks in a thunderstorm.
Always the same eternal camps but with different names for each century. Protestants against Catholics, Republicans against Royalists, Communards against the Versailles faction. The old quarrel has been revived again. People are either pro- or anti-Dreyfus. I would like to try to be simply a Frenchman. And that is the reason I am for Watteau and against Monsieur Bouguereau!

Do away firearms, and replace them with bags of pepper.
You throw the pepper in enemy’s eyes. It hurts like the devil, but it’s not dangerous. And it costs the taxpayers less than heavy artillery. It would put an end to the fighting because the combatants would be too busy rubbing their eyes.

The Parisian is a marvelous being
as long as he is behind his shop in the Faubourg Saint Antoine. Once outside Paris, he spoils everything!


Quotes from Jean Renoir’s book "Renoir, my father" were collected by Anna Sidelnikova
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