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Renoir’s 'The Umbrellas': Glimpses of Parisian Life

Glimpses of Parisian Life

Educator Belle Smith explores ‘The Umbrellas' by Renoir, in 10 minutes.

  • 10-minute film
  • Watch on demand, for free
  • Available only to Members

Experience the National Gallery's collection like never before with our new exclusive 'National Treasures' film series. A key strand of the National Gallery's Bicentenary celebrations, we will discover 12 loaned paintings from the Gallery's collection across partner venues throughout the UK, providing expert commentary on these iconic masterpieces.

Join us for a rainy day in Paris as National Gallery Educator, Belle Smith, introduces us to 'The Umbrellas' (about 1881–6) by the French artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919). It was presented at an Impressionist exhibition in New York in 1886.

Immerse yourself in the crowd beneath their brollies. Observe how their hands and feet intertwine in the composition of bright oranges, blues and greens.

What do you think the expressions of the young woman and little girl, looking out at us from the picture, are saying? And why do you think there are two different styles of women’s clothes in the picture, alert as Renoir was to women’s fashions of the day?

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Belle Smith

Belle Smith is an artist and Gallery Educator who has worked in London museums and galleries for many years. She studied at Goldsmiths College and has an MA in the History of Art. She enjoys working with groups of all ages, from young children and teenagers to undergraduates and adults.