A highly skilled technical painter, Renoir was more concerned than most Impressionists with maintaining a sense of continuity with the French Neoclassical painting tradition. This genre painting of a girl tatting is in the tradition of eighteenth-century domestic scenes by François Boucher and Jean-Siméon Chardin, or even, harks back yet further to the paintings of Jan Vermeer. Like these artists, Renoir focused on an exacting task requiring the sitter's full attention, in this case lace-making. The cropped bust-length figure is set against a deep green ground, and the resulting picture is dominated by the girl's concentration and her delicate finger work. Her embroidered silk dress, built up of streaks of vibrant hue to create a shimmering surface that suggests the iridescence of the white cloth, attests to Renoir's skillful application of paint. In a show of his own dexterous skill, the artist used a thin, discontinuous stroke of paint to indicate the girl's silk tatting thread. Jennifer A. Thompson, from Masterpieces from the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Impressionism and Modern Art (2007), p. 88
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