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Image of 'At the Theatre' by Renoir, 1876-7.

'At the Theatre' by Renoir, 1876-7

In her box at the theatre, a young girl leans forward in her seat to gain a better view of the performance.

This painting has been known by various titles. One of these, ‘The First Outing’ was probably inspired by the feeling of youthful anticipation in the girl’s pose. We can sense her excitement as she peers down at the activity below her, both on stage and among the audience.

Renoir has pulled the girl’s profile into sharp focus, while the distant audience is blurred. In his use of focus, Renoir has managed to capture a fleeting moment in time, much like a photographer.

Modern city entertainments and scenes from everyday life, such as the street, the café, the theatre and the circus were popular themes among the Impressionist painters.

© The National Gallery, London
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