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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Passing the Time with Renoir

Yesterday, it was too cold to play out. Bow and I needed to find something to do indoors to pass the time. I brought in an old art book that I inherited from my grandmother. It is a big book, and I am sure it must have been expensive, but most of the pictures in it are black and white reproductions, with only a few in color. Those that are in color are sort of pasted in loosely -- they were not printed with the others. I imagine that today, if you buy an art book, it is not like that.

I put the book on the table on my side of the glass and did not bring it in for Bow to look at until he asked for it. It is very important for it to be Bow's idea, because otherwise he might not be nice to the book. Bow gets to decide who and what is permitted to enter his domain.

When Bow started looking at the pictures, the book was propped up on my knee, and we were looking at it together. But eventually he took it away from me to look at by himself. When he did that, he was pretty gentle with the book, but it's true that one of the front pages got folded under the wrong way.

I did intervene just a little, to save the page from being misshapen. Bow was about to be a little miffed with me when he thought I was taking the book away prematurely, but he calmed down when he saw that I was just straightening it up and he could continue to enjoy the art appreciation experience.

For Bow, who flips through the pages rather fast, one viewing is not enough. He likes to look at the same pictures over and over again.

Bow pauses longer on some pages. I think he prefers the color reproductions.

When Bow really likes a painting, he does not merely look at it. He likes to touch it, too.

Bow's favorite Renoir painting is called Baigneuse. The English title given in the book is "Seated Bather." Bow returned to this picture again and again.

Unfortunately, though he was very gentle, Bow did leave tiny scratches on this print. I probably need to get him another copy, one that is laminated!

However, in searching for this exact painting online, I found a lot of bathers by Renoir, and even a seated bather, but none was this exact painting. Renoir seems to have painted many bathers, and practice makes perfect!


  1. I have some old art books my dad found for me for me at second hand stores. Some are pretty amazing, and I was surprised the people got read of some of these books, a couple of which were beautiful.

    1. Hi, Julia. I think people who appreciate art do not lightly discard art books. However, when they die, many relatives just don't have room for everything they left behind, and that's how these books end up in the second hand stores. I am glad your dad got you those books. They must be a pleasure to look at.