Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), Sculpture


Pierre-­‐Auguste Renoir’s sculpture Venus Victorieuse is a mythic image of the ‘ideal’ woman that was influenced by The Judgment of Paris, the Aphrodite of Knidos, and the imagery of Eve in the Garden of Eden. This work is fundamental to realizing Renoir’s overall treatment of the female nude, which is fully epitomized by this formal sculpture.

Pierre-­‐Auguste Renoir was an Impressionist artist who dedicated the last three decades of his life primarily to the depiction of the female nude. His representation of the nude, both in painting and sculpture, was monumental and idealized, and he often created images of women that were mythic and evocative of the notion that woman belongs to the ‘natural sphere.’ Renoir’s sculpture, the Venus Victorieuse is an idealized and indeed mythic image that epitomizes the idea of woman as a seducer, animalistic by nature and inherently amoral. The first part of this essay will discuss the ways in which the Venus Victorieuse was influenced by two earlier works, The Judgment of Paris by Marcantonio Raimondi and Praxiteles’ Aphrodite of Knidos, and also how this image of Venus evokes the allegory of Eve and the notion of her ‘original sin’. Comparing the Venus with these two earlier works will address these influences and how they have informed the meaning behind Renoir’s sculptural interpretation of the mythic symbol of Venus. The second part of this essay will explore the ways in which Renoir has utilized the sculptural form to convey his ideas concerning the objectification of woman and the implications of her as inherently closer to nature, predisposed to sin and seduction.



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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

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