oil on canvas, 131 x 175 cm. - Paris, Musée d'Orsay
This masterwork has been described as “the most beautiful painting of the 19th century”. The painting depicts one of the numerous dances that took place in the Moulin de la Galette, one of the most frequented "guinguettes" (restaurants and leisure clubs) in 19th-century Montmartre, a paradise for bohemians and artists like Toulouse-Lautrec, Vincent van Gogh or Renoir himself.
This work is a masterpiece in which Renoir portrays many of his friends –like Cuban painter Pedro Vidal and his partner, or other French painters like Lamy, Gervex or Codey- spending a placid Sunday afternoon at the Moulin's garden. But not all of the people depicted in the painting were famous personages: Renoir himself affirmed that several of the female models were prostitutes. “I was afraid that the lovers of the girls I recruited might prevent their 'women' from visiting my studio. But they were good guys, and some of them even served as models themselves”. Artists, bohemians, prostitutes… all of them forming an authentic “human zoo” that take us back to those bohemian afternoons in the 19th-century Paris.
Text: G. Fernández, www.theartwolf.com