Tag Archives: Berthe Morisot

Endearing Portrait of Julie Manet and her Cat by Auguste Renoir

Auguste Renoir enjoyed painting people, and his painting of Julie Manet and her cat is an endearing portrait of the daughter of another Impressionist, Berthe Morisot. Many people choose cats as pets, but farmers need cats to keep rodents out of the livestock feed. Not many cats can be both friendly pets and pest controllers, but Maine coon cats often do both!

Fluffy, a Maine coon cat, ruled the barn on my grandparents’ Maine farm when I was a child. At nearly 25 lbs. and with long hair, a bushy tail like a racoon, and ear tufts like a wild lynx, she terrorized the mice population. But this black and gray tabby had a softer side and loved to come in and socialize with her family. She seemed as big as a dog to me, and her silky coat crackled with static when I stroked her.

Several legends surround the origin of Maine coon cats, now a popular cat breed everywhere. Old-timers claimed they were mixed with a raccoon, which is biologically impossible. Another old legend said France’s doomed queen, Marie Antoinette, planned an escape by a ship whose home port was Wiscasset, Maine. Although Marie missed the boat, her long-haired cats sailed to Maine and bred with local short-haired cats.

Most likely, sailors brought long-haired cats back from their sea voyages to places like Norway. But the legends are fun, and the Marie Antoinette tale leads nicely into this post about the French Impressionist, Renoir. Enjoy his painting of Julie Manet and the happy little cat snuggling in her arms.

What’s in this post?

  • A little about Auguste Renoir and his painting of Julie Manet
  • Helpful vocabulary
  • Understanding  the painting
  • Activities to help you and your children explore and enjoy the painting of Julie Manet and her cat
  • Don’t tell Molly, but this week’s cute picture is of my brother and me with Fluffy, the Maine coon cat! Molly will return next week!

Let’s Learn about the Artist

Pierre Auguste Renoir, self portrait, 1876, public domain

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) was born in the French city of Limoges, a center for the porcelain industry. At 13, he apprenticed as a painter in a porcelain factory and became skilled at florals. When he later studied art in Paris, he joined a group of art students who rebelled against the traditional art of their day.

The Impressionists, as they came to be called, wanted to paint landscapes and scenes of everyday life en plein air, or in the open air. They saw how light changed colors and used short brush strokes to capture those fleeting effects. Their small brushstrokes of pure colors make their paintings shimmer and leave edges looking blurry.

Renoir liked to paint people enjoying life at outdoor gatherings. His Luncheon of the Boating Party is a famous example of his happy gatherings. It also shows how the Impressionists used each other and friends and family members as their models. Almost everyone in this painting can be identified, and the woman in the left foreground with the little dog is Renoir’s future wife.

Luncheon of the Boating Party by Auguste Renoir,1880-1881, public domain

Renoir painted many single and family portraits, and Julie Manet modeled for him other times, too. Julie was used to posing for her mom and knew all the Impressionists. A few years ago her diary about growing up among these artists was published.

The Artist’s Daughter, Julie with her Nanny by Berthe Morisot,1884, Minneapolis Institute of Art, public domain

Helpful Vocabulary

These words will be in bold green the first time they come up and will help you and your children talk more easily about different parts of the painting.

  1. Portrait: a painting, drawing, photograph, etc. of a person, often done quite close up. The person may be looking straight forward or shown from the side–a profile. The painting Berthe Morisot and Her Daughter Julie shows both.

    Berthe Morisot and her Daughter Julie Manet by August Renoir, 1894, Musee d’Orsay, public domain

  2. Texture: how a surface would feel if touched
  3. Pattern: a repetition of a design, such as a plaid
  4. French Impressionists: a group of artists who became friends while studying art in Paris in the 1860s. They rebelled against the Paris art establishment, preferring to paint modern life and to paint outdoors. The group included 2 women, Mary Cassatt and Berthe Morisot. Many artists in other countries adopted the style.

Understanding the Painting, A Captured Moment in Time

Julie Manet with her cat, by Auguste Renoir,1887, public domain

Portraits can be very formal, with the sitter in their best clothes, like The Mona Lisa, which the Impressionist would have seen in the Louvre.

In this painting, everything—Julie’s dress with gold embroidery and the pretty pastel sofa and wallpaper—point to a formal drawing room. So . . . you might expect a formal portrait.

Instead the painting has captured a moment in time. It’s as if Renoir has just entered the room where Julie is cuddling her pet cat. And as she turns toward the artist, he takes a snapshot. The Impressionists loved to show these moments in time. Photography was still new, but it had a big effect on the Impressionists, who liked the sense of immediacy it gave to pictures.

Renoir’s subjects may be wearing their best clothes, but he usually shows them interacting with other people at a restaurant or with things that provide extra interest or tell a little about them—a musical instrument, a toy, a pet, etc.

Activities to Help You and Your Children Explore this Painting

Before doing any other activities, ask children to tell what’s going on in the painting and what tells them that. Enhance their observational and verbal skills by rephrasing words and adding new vocabulary.

This is a great painting to learn about portraits and what they tell us about the sitter.

  • What sort of things can you tell about Julie?
  • Do you think she’s wearing her best dress? Remember that at this time girls always wore dresses.
  • Do you think she is in her own home or the artist’s studio?
  • Does she look happy?
  • Is this a quiet or noisy painting?
  • Do you think these are good colors for this portrait? Why or why not?
  • What sort of things do you think Julie would like to do?

How would you like a portrait of you to look? Have some fun choosing clothes and other things you’d like to have in your own portrait. Tell why you’ve chosen the clothes and items. Then have some one take a photo of you and print it.

You might also find and list all the different textures and patterns in this painting. Next to each write one or two descriptive words

Before You Go

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide, 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, You’ll also get a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit.

Visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.

Molly hopes you enjoyed learning about Renoir and will join us next week. We’ll be doing an art project based on his happy painting of Julie Manet and her cat. The following week will be the devotion.

 Photo of Fluffy the Main Coon Cat

 

 

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Mary Cassatt, American Impressionist Artist

Mary Cassatt, an American, joined the French Impressionists’ exhibitions just 5 years after their very first exhibition in 1874. Edgar Degas had seen some of her paintings at the annual Paris art show and invited Mary to join the Impressionists. The only American and one of only three women, Mary continued exhibiting with the group until 1886.

The post includes:

  • A short bio of Mary Cassatt
  • Information about her paintings
  • Activities to help you and your children enjoy and understand her work
  • A kid-friendly devotion based on the paintings

The Artist

Mary Cassatt (1844-1926) was born near Pittsburg, but grew up in Philadelphia. When Mary was still a child, her family lived in Europe for several years searching for a cure for Mary’s brother, Robbie, who had bone cancer. When he died, they returned to America.

Even as a child, Mary wanted to become an artist, and despite her father’s objections, entered the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts when she was just 15. Women students had separate classes from men, and Mary often felt frustrated by this and the lack of great art to study in American museums.

So, like many American artists, when the Civil War ended, Mary traveled to Europe to study art. She eventually settled in Paris. As a woman, Mary couldn’t attend the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, but she studied privately with Ecole masters and spent lots of time copying masterpieces at the Louvre.

When she joined the Impressionists, Cassatt’s art took on many similarities to their work.

Most Impressionists used their families as models and often painted them walking in a field with a parasol, sitting in a garden, or at a luncheon at one of the popular weekend boating resorts along the Seine. But the men could also go to cafes and travel around Paris to capture everyday life.

Mary Cassatt, photo, 1913, public domain

The three women, Mary Cassatt, Berthe Morisot, and Marie Bracquemond, couldn’t do these things unaccompanied. Instead they painted the domestic life of women and children, also using family members as models. Mary Cassatt is known and loved today for her beautiful paintings, pastels, and prints of mothers and children.

Reine Lefebre and Margot before a window by Mary Cassatt, public domain

Cassatt lived the rest of her life in France, but never forgot the need of American museums for great art. She advised many wealthy Americans on what paintings to buy for themselves—all with the stipulation they would eventually give their collections to museums. Today, partly through Mary’s efforts, we can see large numbers of Impressionist and other great art at the Metropolitan Art Museum in New York, the Chicago Institute of Art, and many smaller museums around the country. American museums also have many works by Cassatt, herself.

The Paintings

Cassatt’s paintings often show figures up close, and once she joined the Impressionists, she began to use brighter colors, lots of light, and shadows full of color. Despite that influence, Mary continued to carefully outline her figures, not dissolving these as some Impressionists did.

Children on a Beach by Mary Cassatt, public domain

Besides the light-filled palette, you see the Impressionist influence in lack of fine detail in women’s dresses and people and flowers in backgrounds.

Young Mother Sewing by Mary Cassatt, public domain

Quite often Mary’s paintings of women and children include a dog called a Brussels Griffon. Mary fell in love with these little dogs and owned several during her life. These little dogs were first used to hunt down rats and mice in stables, but also gradually became pets. People found them to be sensitive and lovable, but they do need lots of exercise and can be somewhat stubborn to train.

Young Girl at a Window by Mary Cassatt, public domain

Activities to Help You and Your Children further Explore Mary’s Paintings

  • Before doing any other activities, ask children to tell what’s going on in the painting and what tells them that. Enhance their observational and verbal skills by rephrasing words and adding new vocabulary.
  • These paintings by Mary Cassatt are great for telling stories. Ask children what they think is happening in each painting, and how the people are feeling, or what they’re talking about.

 Devotion—God’s faithfulness

  1. Ask children to say or list some of the traits that make dogs good pets for many people, such as friendly, loyal, fun to play with, devoted, etc.
  2. If they don’t come up with faithfulness, help them focus on that trait
  3. Look up some synonyms for faithfulness.
  4. Briefly tell one or two stories about faithful dogs from history or literature, such as Lassie Come Home or The Incredible Journey, in which dogs brave many dangers to return to their beloved families.
  5. There are many such stories about the faithfulness of dogs, and for that reason, they’re often used in paintings to symbolize faithfulness.
  6. Though dogs are known and loved for their faithfulness, we know God is even more faithful to love us, care for us, and keep His promises.
  7. Together read some of these verses and talk about all the ways the Lord is our faithful God:
  •      Deuteronomy 7:9
  •      Deuteronomy 32:4
  •      Psalm 25:10
  •      Psalm 33:4
  •      Psalm 57:10
  •      Psalm 89:14
  •      Psalm 91:4
  •      Psalm 145:13-20
  •      Psalm 146:6-10
  •      1 Corinthians 10:13
  •      1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
  •      Hebrews 10:23
  •      1 Peter 4:19
  •      1 John 1:9

Have children write a prayer using words from some of these verses and decorate it to put on the fridge or send to a loved one.

Together watch and enjoy  Lassie Come Home, The Incredible Journey, or another story about a faithful dog!

Before You Go:

3 Things you might like to do:

Click the button to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide called, How to Make Your Art Museum Visit a Masterpiece for Your Whole Family!

If you like the new look for my blog, check out my all new and helpful website at:http://www.kathy-oneill.com/

To read “Red, Yellow, and Blue, Let Art Refresh Your Children and You,” my post on the parenting blog, In the Quiver, follow this link. You’ll find more ideas about how art can help your child’s overall development and some fun activities to do togetherhttps://inthequiver.com/

______________________________________

Molly, my faithful little artsy corgi and I hope you enjoyed learning about Mary Cassatt and most of all about the faithfulness of our God!! Please come back next time for an art activity related to Mary Cassatt’s work.

 

 

 

 

On the Trail of Monet’s Cathedrals and Haystacks: Musee Marmottan Monet, Paris

Continuing on our Monet Trail, one morning we took the metro to a more residential area in western Paris. Blue sky and warm sunshine met us as we came up the station steps. As we scuffled through leaves on the sidewalks and picked up smooth mahogany chestnuts, we enjoyed the arrival of fall.

 

The Musee Marmottan Monet is near the Bois de Boulogne, where Degas painted his horse racing scenes, and where other Impressionists sometimes painted people picnicking or strolling beside lakes.

The Picnic, Claude Monet

The Bois de Boulogne was once part of a forest where French kings and nobles hunted. By the time of the Impressionists, it had become a fashionable park that had been part of Napoleon III and Baron Haussmann’s drastic modernization of Paris in the 1850s. This included, not only parks, but broad new boulevards and modern apartment buildings that displaced thousands of poor Parisians to the city’s outskirts.

It’s the Paris we see in Impressionist paintings–Paris from the Louvre by Monet and Le Pont de L’Europe by Caillebotte

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About this same time Jules Marmottan bought a former hunting lodge on the eastern side of the Bois de Boulogne, and he and his son turned it into a mansion with fine furniture and art. The son left the mansion and its art to the French Academy of Fine Arts, which opened it to the public in 1939.

Musee Marmottan Monet now houses the largest collection of Monet’s paintings in the world, many coming directly from the artist’s family, because Michel Monet, the artist’s second son, left the collection he inherited from his father to the Marmottan. Other works came from the doctor who was the personal physician of many of the Impressionists.

Although it doesn’t have the huge water lily canvases of Musee de L’Orangerie, it does have a number of large water lily paintings, as well works by other Impressionists.

And it hasImpression, Sunrise,

Impression, Sunrise, clause Monet, author photo

 the painting by Monet that gave the movement its name. In it Monet painted a sunrise over Le Havre harbor, showing how the water and the sun’s reflections on it sparkled and changed moment by moment. Sunrise was in the Impressionist’s first exhibit in 1874, and a magazine critic made fun of the paintings, especially Monet’s. The critic titled his article, “Exhibition of the Impressionists,” and the name stuck.

Seeing that painting at the Marmottan , and sitting surrounded by water lily paintings and wandering through the galleries to see other works was a delightful way to prepare us for our visit to Giverny, the inspiration for the water lily paintings that occupied Monet for the last 20 years of his life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

From my last post:   Here are the answers to the differences between the subjects preferred by some Impressionists

  • Monet and Pisarro both favored landscapes, but when Monet included people, they were middle class people enjoying a walk or time in a garden. Pissarro painted country scenes, which often showed peasants at work in gardens and fields.
  • Renoir and Degas preferred to paint people, but Renoir liked to paint happy people dancing or  dining at cafes. His women and children are dressed in their best. Degas painted a more work-a-day world of laundresses and poorer girls, who became ballerinas to earn a living.
  • Morisot and Cassatt made moving and beautiful paintings of family members, especially of mothers and children. They may have wished to branch out more, (Cassatt once did paintings of bull fighters), but middle class women led a fairly restricted life at this time. They couldn’t roam Paris or the countryside on their own, as did the men.

Activities

  1. Read about Baron Haussmann and his modernization of Paris. Look at Gustave Caillebotte’s painting, Paris, a Rainy Day and paintings of Paris by other Impressionists to see some of those wide boulevards and iconic apartment buildings
  2. Look at some of Monet’s paintings that include water, one of his favorite subjects. It’s fun to see how he painted reflections in short dashes of color.

Molly enjoyed the cooler autumn weather, too.

Next up, the train trip to Giverny, going through Gare St. Lazare, the same train station that the Impressionists often used, and that Monet painted  a number of times.

Sign up to receive the next Kathythepicturelady post and read about the Impressionists’ love of trains.

All photos in this post were taken by the author.