Beneath the Surface of Luncheon of the Boating Party (Part 3)

In order to understand how Pierre-August Renoir created Luncheon of the Boating Party, a technical study was conducted in the conservation studio. By closely examining the surface and comparing it to x-radiographic and infrared images, we learn that Renoir made numerous changes both large and small over several months. While he deftly captured the moment of friends casually enjoying an afternoon at a restaurant on the Seine, the in-depth analyisis shows that he labored to capture the immediacy of the scene.

Explore fresh findings from a recent technical analysis of Luncheon of the Boating Party through this interactive feature

Raking light (left) and infrared (right) details of the table setting

Raking light (left) and infrared (right) details of the table setting

Revisions to the table setting
Just as he reworked his sitters, Renoir also revised objects on the table.
a) A wine glass in front of the cask was painted out.
b) An aperitif glass was replaced with a small bunch of grapes.
c) Another wineglass in front of the fruit bowl was removed.
d) One of the tall glasses on the right was originally a stemmed glass.

Although it is possible that tableware changed between painting sessions and Renoir modified his depiction accordingly, these may be deliberate choices he made after the fact or in his studio.

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