Watching Phil Grabsky's new documentary on Renoir, Renoir - Revered and Reviled, I felt a little like I've felt waiting for one of my children to say their lines in a school play - I couldn't really enjoy the film until my bit had passed and there were no fluffed lines. In spite of this I have to say it is a beautiful film where the camera's ability to go close to the surface of a painting and explore the beauty of colour and texture was combined with a wonderful soundtrack of 'Songs of the Auvergne'-type singing by a female vocalist. Renoir's biography is neatly told by excerpts from his son's account Renoir My Father read by an actor with an authentic accent and accompanied by footage of Paris, the countryside near the city and the South of France on screen. There is also and introduction to The Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia - Barnes was a millionaire chemist who collected 181 Renoirs directly from his dealer and they hang alongside fellow Impressionists as well as artists who were deeply influenced by Renoir's late work, such as Matisse and Picasso. Running through the film is an argument about just how Renoir should be judged, particularly in relation to his preferred motif of the young female nude - Old Master or self indulgent sexist. Revered or reviled? #eosrenoir
Damian Callan is a practising figurative artist and tutor based in Edinburgh.