Pierre Auguste Renoir’s painting “The Lodge” is one of his most famous works. The theater box depicted on it, indicated by only a few elements, is, rather, a decoration, a frame for the main action.
In its genre, this work is a portrait, and a double one. In the foreground, the artist depicted a woman with small theater glasses in one hand and an elegant kerchief in the other. Behind her is a man who is imposingly seated in an armchair and attentively with the help of theatrical binoculars watches what is happening on the stage. Interestingly, despite the fact that the artist has placed these two figures next to each other, they seem completely alien and inappropriate to each other.
In the smallest detail, Renoir depicted the outfits of a lady sitting in a theater box. Each fold of her dress is carefully drawn from fabric, with a pattern of wide stripes, a pearl necklace around her graceful neck – all this creates the image of a beautiful and mysterious stranger.
The woman’s expression is in stark contrast to her shiny outfit: she looks very restrained and stern. The woman looks aloof and almost indifferent to what is happening: she looks directly at the viewer, but her thoughts hover somewhere far away, she is not at all keen on the action on the stage. The details of the women’s dress, carefully drawn by the artist, do not distract the viewer from admiring the woman’s face.
In this work, Auguste Renoir made full use of his discovery: a combination of black and pearl colors. This creates the effect of a certain solemnity and theatricality. For the image of a man, his brother Edmond posed for the artist.
Year of painting: 1874.
Dimensions of the painting: 80 x 63.5 cm.
Writing technique: oil.
Gallery: Courtauld Institute of Art, London, UK.