Renoir Drawings

Renoir Drawings

Renoir Drawings

Renoir Drawings

Excerpt

INE AND COLOR APPEARED, DURING THE first half of the nineteenth century, to be two irreconcilable enemies. The violent discussions about the exclusive advantages of the one or the other, which raged among the followers of Ingres and of Delacroix, only widened the gap without offering a solution. While Ingres, in his stubborn emphasis on linear perfection, came close to considering a painting merely as a colored drawing, Delacroix's febrile brush superbly disregarded the precision of conventional contours. But his manner of drawing with his brush so that stroke and color would be one, his ability to use line as an expression of movement rather than as the limitation of sharply defined objects, failed to convince his contemporaries that a colorist did not need to be ignorant of drawing.

It was Baudelaire's merit to affirm -- what might then have appeared heresy -- that "there are two types of drawing: the drawing of the colorists and the drawing of the draftsmen. The procedures are inverted, but one may draw well with frenzied color just as one may obtain harmonious masses of color while remaining exclusively a draftsman." Baudelaire, however, did not go so far as to denounce completely the arbitrary division of line and color. When Ingres' linear accomplishments inspired him to assert that "the draftsman is a colorist who has missed his calling," he seems to have been unintentionally questioning the true nature of Delacroix's genius, that of being equally an accomplished draftsman and an accomplished colorist.

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