Sunday, April 14, 2013

Inspired by Renoir (Acrobats at the Cirque Fernando)


          It seems that spring has finally sprung, the changing of the seasons heralded by the blooming of daffodils and dandelions along the city sidewalks. This burst of springtime brings with it a milestone for Cute and Mundane - we've just passed one million page views! So, in celebration, I'd like to share a reflection on beauty and art in this latest edition of the Inspired by Art series- and who better to guide this reflection than impressionist master, Pierre Auguste Renoir!

          Renoir was born into a French working-class family in 1841. At an early age, he took a job at a porcelain factory to help support his family. It was there that his talent for the arts was first noticed, and he became tasked with painting intricate designs on fine china. In his early twenties Renoir began studying art formally in Paris, where he met fellow impressionists, among them Claude Monet and Alfred Sisley. Unlike his contemporaries however, Renoir never had the benefit of family affluence or wealthy patronage, and often struggled to afford even the basic paints he needed for his work. Perhaps this is why Renoir painted (and was often criticized for) overly idyllic scenes – scenes that shirked the bitter realities of life, exchanging them for utopian daydreams. Renoir himself once said, referring to his paintings: “There are enough ugly things in life for us not to add to them.”

          Renoir's beautiful 1879 painting Acrobats at the Cirque Fernando is a shining example of the dreamy aspect of his work. The painting depicts a pair of happy, innocent young girls collecting oranges tossed by the audience after a successful performance. In reality, the two girls, Francisca and Angelina Wartenberg, are aged 17 and 14, much older and more mature than the painting suggests. Furthermore, it almost goes without saying that circuses (especially of that era) were certainly not innocent and playful places. We could easily write off the painting as a gross embellishment of the truth. Perhaps what we should take away instead, however, is that Renoir managed to take a place as dark and exploitative as the circus, and find a nugget of beauty within it to cultivate and share with the world.


          My Renoir inspired look is focuses on yellow, which is present throughout the painting, both in pure and mixed form. Yellow is always a great color for April (think daffodils and rain boots), however it seems to be especially trending this year considering recent offerings from MAKE UP FOR EVER and NARS. To this end, I've included MAKE UP FOR EVER Eyeshadow #2 Yellow, a pigmented yellow. I think yellow can look nice in small doses and, as you can see from the circus floor, it mixes quite nicely with tans. The same concept can be applied to eyes with Bobbi Brown Eyeshadow in Cement. Yellow also plays nicely with the pale pink-white of the acrobat's skin, which I've represented with Bobbi Brown eyeshadow in Navajo.


         To add definition in this Renoir inspired look, one can use the classic dark brown of the acrobats' hair and eyes. Bobbi Brown Black Chocolate (reviewed here) is a nice dark brown liner shade. For more interest, a brilliant blue can be used instead. You might notice that much of the shading in Renoir's painting is done with a dark blue. My favorite blue is NARS Outremer (reviewed here). An alternative color to pair with the yellow would be an orange, such as MAC Optimistic Orange.


          Nail colors are a great way to incorporate the same optimistic yellows and whites of the acrobats' costumes. China Glaze Happy Go Lucky is a bright  decorative yellow, like the acrobat's shoes. Sephora by OPI IM Beauty is a daintier yellow like that of the costume trim. SpaRitual Transcend (reviewed here) is a pale yellow white, like the fabric.


         Alternatively, colors from the surrounding could be used to color tips and toes. Sephora by OPI Going Nude Eh? is a pale tan like that of the floor. Sephora by OPI Hi Def is a bright orange. Sephora by OPI Blue Grotto channels the blue of of the background crowd.


           Finally, my Renoir based look wouldn't be complete without a scent to match! For the past couple of Inspired by Art posts, I've been incorporating perfume to quite literally add another 'layer' to the experience. I was particularly inspired by the tissue wrapped oranges tossed to the acrobats, so I've chosen a couple celebratory orange-family scents. Fan di Fendi Eau de Toilette (reviewed here) has tangerine citrus notes, with florals to add a playful whimsy like the acrobats' ruffly outfits, and soft leather, like their yellow boots. A more French option, by one of my favorite perfumers, Jean Claude Ellena, is Hermès Elixir des Merveilles. Elixir des Merveilles is an oriental orange with a delightful round bottle to match!

           It's true that Renoir didn't paint a realistic depiction of the Wartenberg sisters. He even went so far as to paint them not from memory, but posed in his studio under natural daylight. (In explanation, Renoir remarked that the circus tent gas lighting “turns faces into grimaces”). What is equally true, however, is that Renoir would have never created such a wonderful work of art had he not seen the beauty hidden in the reality. As beauty enthusiasts, we can take this sentiment to heart; makeup and perfumes may be pleasant to look at and smell, but they aren't what make us beautiful – we've already got true beauty tucked away inside ourselves.

Thanks for reading!

Love, Dovey.

P.S. Be sure to check out more posts from my Inspired by Art series here!

41 comments:

  1. What a lovely post. Your pieces about masterpieces are art in themselves! Thank you for putting so much time and effort into your blog

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    1. Hi Emily, Thank you so much for the kind words! I really appreciate them :)

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  2. Oh Dovey, Renoir is one of my favorite artists and it's so nice to see his painting featured here!

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    1. Hi Sunny, Thank you so much for the comment - it makes me so happy to hear that you love Renoir too. His paintings are so beautiful!

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  3. Your 'Inspired by Art' posts are some of my favorites! Thanks for taking the time to create such wonderful color combinations and great posts.

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    1. Hi Ellie, Thank you so much for the nice comment --- encouraging words like those inspire me to keep going!

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  4. Big congrats on the milestone, I love how you picked this beautiful painting. Your inspired by art posts are quite inspiring, the colours you chose really reflect so well on the art piece! ^^

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    1. Hi Teri, Thank you so much! It means a lot to me that you enjoyed it :)

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  5. Stunning. These posts are my absolute favorite!

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    1. Thank you so much Allison :)!

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  6. LOVE it! You sure can capture not only the colours in a painting, but the FEEL of it too!

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    1. Hi Tracy, Thank you so much for the sweet comment! <3!!

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  7. Beautiful post, Dovey! I like the little art history lessons that are included in the series. :)

    Maybe we can go so far as to say Renoir helped to shape today's circus, which focuses on fun and laughter. I'm really warming up to yellows and oranges after years of avoiding them - they are such happy colours.

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    1. Hi Liz, Thank you! I'm so glad you like the background blurbs before the makeup! I really like your description of the circus --- well said!

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  8. I find it so hard to wear yellow nail polish...because of my skin tone. But the Going Nude Eh? looks divine! Thanks for the detailed post!

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    1. Hi Patch, Thanks for the comment! Yellow is a bit tricky to wear--- I'm just getting into them myself. Nudes are always a favorite of mine too :)

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  9. Oh I love your inspiration! Nice. I am loving the yellow MUFE eyeshadow.

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    1. Hi K&MUBB, Thank you! I've had the MUFE for some time now --- however it seemed like the perfect time to use it now!

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  10. A million views! Wahoo! Blue and yellow always look so happy together. Like sunshine and blue skies :P

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    1. HI Kelly, Thank you! You're so right, sunshine + sky is such a great combo!

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  11. Congratulations on reaching the milestone of a million views! Such a gorgeous spring-like painting to highlight that achievement! This is one that I was not previously familiar with!
    As usual you've pulled a great selection of colors to evoke the feeling of the painting. And blue & yellow are one of my favorite color combinations!

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    1. Hi Kristi, Thank you so much for well wishes! I'm so glad you enjoyed the painting and color combination :)

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  12. I love this series. It's a very creative approach to link makeup and art, and I love this colour combination. Exquisite!

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    1. Hi Lily, Thank you so much for the kind words!

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  13. I love this series. So creatives and highlights new (to me) and familiar works of art.

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    1. Hi Iris, Thank you so much for the encouraging comment!

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  14. Congratulations on the one million mark and congratulations on another beautiful "Inspired by . . ." post. Renoir's ability to see beyond the tawdry realities of life to find those elements of startling beauty and clarity was a gift of vision that has inspired the imagination and lifted the spirits of countless generations. His depictions of beauty, simple or complex, were neither frivolous nor vacuous as some of his critics claimed. His paintings have the power to charm the viewer, lighten the spirit, and gladden the heart.

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    1. Hi Eileen, Thank you so much for your kind words! Your description of Renoir is truly inspiring and uplifting as well --- a perfectly articulated sentiment! :)

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  15. Congratulations on reaching one million pageviews! With beautifully composed posts like this I'm not at all surprised xo

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    1. Hi Vita, Thank you so much for the kind words! They mean a lot to me :)

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  16. what an amazing post Dovey, congrats on reaching so many, many pageviews :) I love your inspired by art post <3 BB cement looks like a colour I may need, you make yellow nail polishes look wearable :D IM Beauty looks so nice, would be a nice colour for summer / Claire xxx

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    1. Hi Claire, thank you so much for the comment! Cement is really one of my all time favorite Bobbi Brown shades :)

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  17. Hi Dovey, Congrats on reaching the one-million views milestone! :)
    I think this may be my favorite Inspired by Art post ever! Love all of the colors you chose to represent the painting. I've always enjoyed looking at Renoir's work, but didn't know much about the painter himself. I totally agree with his statement, “There are enough ugly things in life for us not to add to them.”

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    1. HI Shannon, Thank you so so much for the wonderful words! They really mean a lot to me! I really love that quote as well --- I think it truly embodies the spirit of beauty

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  18. Oh! Recently I've been very into orange/tangerine colors..... I've always liked citrus and their scent too so I'll have to check out those perfumes.

    Very excited about my tangerine colored lipstick but it doesn't show up as well on my skin.... perhaps lip colour?

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    1. Hi ZZ, I hope you do get to try them --- they're quite nice scents! I usually wear orange hints as blush with a very light hand, but a lipstick sounds nice! :)

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  19. Beautiful post, Dovey and congratulations on reaching the one million pageview mark! I think your inspired by art posts are some of my favourites, too. Like Liz, I like the little art history lesson that you've included in the series :) All of the shades you've chosen are beautiful, but Outremer and Happy Go Lucky are especially lovely.

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    1. Hi Nat, Thank you so much! It means a lot to me to hear such encouraging words! Outremer is really one my all time favorite colors!

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  20. That's a beautiful post :)
    Although I am not really into art and paintings, your blog makes me realize that the Renior painting is very beautiful!

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    1. Hi Memoiselle, Thank you so much for the wonderful comment! I'm so glad you enjoyed the Renoir --- his paintings are so beautiful!

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  21. Dear folks who commented :

    Thank you so so so much for your wonderful comments! They mean so much to me, and really give me strength to keep blogging during this busy time! I wanted to let you know that I have read all of them, and do plan on responding to each individually in the coming days!

    <3 Dovey

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