Night Life in Paris
Henri Toulouse-Lautrec’s “At the Moulin Rouge” displays a unique and personable version of the night life in Paris. The painting is done in oil on canvas and was created near the end of the Impressionist era. Toulouse-Lautrec however, does not use the dramatic colors as some of the early Impressionistic paintings. There are no flowers, sun, or landscape that is typically associated with the period. Instead, he portrays a seemingly smoky-filled night club scenario. At first glance, the eye is brought to the center table by the red-haired woman amid the darker colors of the men’s clothing and the less detailed greens and browns of the background. Her head leans forward, appearing tired from the night’s entertainment. She sits with four others. It is puzzling to tell whether the group is happy or serious because of the varying expressions on their faces. The viewer’s perspective is as if standing on the balcony looking into the room, which gives the painting depth. The diagonal of the strangely cropped banister helps leads the eye form the center point to the lay in the corner right. The brightness and detail of her face also create the feeling of depth. It is quite unique how the face is also cut off. The colors ranging from off-white to bluish-green, which are complimentary to the reddish-orange hair of the woman from the focal points of the center table, seem to create a scary or mystical sense. Also in contrast to the dark coloring of the background, he uses light, geometrically shaped reflections in the background, the light coloring of the decanter and glasses on the left, and uses brighter colors in the features of the women balance so the picture’s weight is not distributed unevenly. The women’s features are easily noticed which make them stand out in the painting in contrast to that of the men. I selected this picture because I have enjoyed looking at other paintings from this period and searched for one that caught my...
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