Lunch at the Restaurant Fournaise Analysis Essay

Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s “Lunch at the Restaurant Fournaise (The Rower’s Lunch)”
The late 19th century marked the rise of impressionist art; an art movement that challenged the status quo in art at the time. Impressionism was a style of painting that aimed to capture a moment in time from the perspective of the artist. It was therefore a style of art that was realistic, comprising real characters and objects. This was a paradigm shift from cubism and other styles of painting that largely featured abstract objects. “Lunch at the Restaurant Fournaise (The Rower’s Lunch)”, which was painted in 1875 by the French painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir, is a typical example of an impressionist art. The painting captures a lively lunch session that the artist shares with his colleagues on a river bed. 

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Renoir effectively uses value and hue to portray the mood of the characters in the painting. Generally, a light color is typically used to capture a happy and lively mood whereas a dark color is used in a painting to create an aura of gloominess. Renoir uses light colors in the painting to portray warmth and happiness. The characters in the painting are without a doubt in a relaxed mood. The events in the painting appear to be taking place in the afternoon. Although this information is provided by the artist through the title of the painting, the use of light colors in the painting reinforces this revelation. As a result, the audience can ascertain that the event is taking place during the day.

Interestingly, the artist manages to show that it is daytime even though he does not include the sun in the frame of the painting. Specifically, the light colors used on the surface of the water portray a reflection of light, thus further reinforcing the idea that the event in the painting is taking place during the day when there is a lot of natural light. Renoir, therefore, successfully uses the value of colors to portray the mood of the event. The colors also give a clue of the time of the day the event is taking place.

Renoir also uses form to capture the setting of the moment. The characters are sitting around a table. It is also evident that they are in a restaurant. On the table, there is a bottle of wine and the content has been poured into glasses, thus accentuating the relaxed mood of the moment. The attires of the characters in the painting also allude to the informal setting of the event. It is apparent that the meeting is completely informal, most likely a meeting between friends. Renoir also uses form to capture the organic elements and the environment in which the people are in. For instance, in the middle ground, there is a river flowing and there are people rowing boats along the river.

It is likely, therefore, that this was a venue where people that enjoyed rowing as a sport met to unwind and relax; away from the bustle of city life and busy schedules. Accordingly, the artist employs the use of form to capture the natural scenery of the location where the lunch is taking place. In the background, the audience can view a hilly terrain covered with some vegetation. In the middle of the background, there is a building, thus portraying the civilization of the time in which the painting is set. There is also evidence of flowers around the place where the table is set, illustrating the aesthetics of the environment in which the main characters in the painting are sitting.

Finally, Renoir uses color to enhance the realism in the painting. As stated earlier, impressionist painting aimed at representing events and moments the way they took place in real life. Renoir uses color in tandem with the occurrence of various objects in nature. For instance, most of the vegetation in the painting are painted green. The leaves of the creeping plant on the balcony of the restaurant are painted green just as the vegetation in the background of the painting. The surface of the water has a bluish color representing the reflection of the sky; a natural phenomenon that happens while one is looking at a body of water. Therefore, Renoir uses color to enhance the realism of the environment in which the event is taking place.

“Lunch at the Restaurant Fournaise” is therefore a perfect example of an impressionist art. The artist, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, captures an animated lunch session at a restaurant located next to a river. The artist employs different elements of art to illustrate different aspects of the event. For instance, he uses value and hue to create a relaxed and happy mood, and to give a sense of the time the event is taking place. He also uses form to create the natural elements and an aura of reality. Finally, color is also used as a way to enhance the impressionist elements of the painting and its realism.

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