Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Two Paintings

Check this out. The kids have prints of these two paintings hanging in their room. One day I was struck by the similarity of the poses. Compare Napoleon on the left (J.L. David, 1812) to the Danseuse on the right (A. Renoir, 1874).

It's a fun game. And it's not only the bodies that resemble each other. Check out the ribbons on the girl's slippers and then look at the wrinkles in Napoleon's stockings. The dancer's tutu echoes the desk full of books behind Monsieur Bonaparte. The collar of the uniform and the black ribbon at the girl's neck are the same. The handkerchief on the right recalls the front of the pants on the left.

It seems that Renoir was thinking about David's portrait when he painted the Danseuse. Both of these paintings are at the National Gallery in DC. I wonder if anyone else has ever noticed this before.

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