THE element of water has always been an inspiration for artists, driving them to create masterworks of art. As the elixir of life, it is one of the most popular motifs in art history and a favourite theme throughout the fine arts.
There are so many ways to portray water on a canvas – here we will discuss two paintings that deal with rain and umbrellas.
A rainy day in Paris
Two of the best-known pictures featuring umbrellas were painted by the French Impressionists Gustave Caillebotte and Pierre-Auguste Renoir:
The oil painting "Paris Street; Rainy Day" by Caillebotte shows a neoclassical intersection in Paris with elegantly dressed pedestrians passing by, all carrying chic, dark umbrellas. This street scene might look haphazard but it’s actually the result of careful composition: the green streetlamp divides the picture into two equal parts, each with its own vanishing point. The artist also paid minute attention to details: you can see every fold in the clothing worn by the couple in the right foreground. On the umbrellas, which really come into their own as a stylistic element in this painting, the typical dividing lines where the ribs stretch the material of the canopy are clearly visible. Light reflecting on the wet cobblestones is also shown in great detail.
Renoir‘s painting "The Umbrellas" also captures a moment on a boulevard – a crowd of fashionably dressed people are jostling each other and shielding their heads from the falling rain with umbrellas. One notable feature is the dark shimmer of the umbrellas, which comes from the reflection of the deep blue sky on the damp canopies. Another exciting aspect of this painting is that the artist shows almost every way of holding an umbrella – straight up, leaning on one shoulder, partially opened, or holding it over someone else.
Umbrellas: not only useful every day companions and fashion accessoires, but that’s not all: they are also a favourite art motif that can tell exciting stories.
source of image:
artist: Gustave Caillebotte