'The Umbrellas', about
by Pierre-Auguste Renoir
London, The National Gallery.
For 2008/09, the one-day 'Take One
Picture' Continuing Professional Development courses,
run by National Gallery Education, focused on 'The Umbrellas'
The course will look at ways of using paintings in the
classroom as a starting point for delivering many areas
of the National Curriculum. This principle aligns closely
with the DCSF
Primary National Strategy: Excellence and Enjoyment,
which supports a holistic approach to the curriculum
by exploiting the links between subject areas.
The Umbrellas shows a bustling Parisian street scene.
The raised umbrellas suggest that rain is falling, although
the woman in the centre with the raised profile and
lowered umbrella, shows that the rain has either just
stopped, or is about to begin.
Something, or somebody, has caught the attention of
the little girl on the right, and the lady on the left.
What, or who, are they looking at? Perhaps they are
looking at us - it is almost as if we ourselves are
standing in the picture with them.
The composition is like a photographic snapshot, cutting
figures off at either side. This is a naturalistic arrangement,
and was popular with several of the Impressionist artists
at the time. However, the composition of The Umbrellas
is actually very carefully considered. The umbrellas
form a geometric pattern of angles and shapes in blues
and greys, a linking rhythm across the top of the painting.
The little girl's hoop and the band-box held by the
woman on the left provide a balance of curves in the
here to view work
from the 2010 exhibition, inspired by this painting.
© The National Gallery,