10 Summer Paintings to Zoom Into

Bring a bottle and a canvas, and let's enjoy the art 'en plein air'

By Google Arts & Culture

The sun's out, let's head down to The Beach at Trouville, as painted by Claude Monet in 1870. Beach holidays were popular with the Impressionists, of which Monet was a member.

The sun, sand, and sea offered a light, modern subject for painting.

The Beach at Trouville (1870) by Claude MonetThe National Gallery, London

The sun is shining, the boats are sailing. It's a beautiful Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.

Georges Seurat painted this scene, his best-known work, between 1884-85. At the time, La Grande Jatte was a bucolic escape from Paris.

A Sunday on La Grande Jatte (1884-1886) by Georges SeuratThe Art Institute of Chicago

At the other end of the scale, Seurat's The Picnic of 1885 depicts a much more intimate gathering, while perfectly capturing the effects of dappled sunshine on the warm, soft grass, linen shirts, and straw hats. 

This may well be a small study made for La Grande Jatte.

The Picnic (ca. 1885) by Georges SeuratDixon Gallery and Gardens

Around the time of making this painting, Mary Cassat was spending her summers at Antibes, on the Mediterranean coast.

The Boating Party, 1893-1894, reflects that southern sun with a refreshing palette of blue and yellow.

The Boating Party (1893 - 1894) by Mary CassattNational Gallery of Art, Washington DC

Pierre-Auguste Renoir brings all his fashionable friends together in The Luncheon of the Boating Party, made in 1880. 

Rowing shirtless was a flirtatious activity for the bright young things of 19th Century Paris, while riverside bars made sure the champagne kept flowing.

Luncheon of the Boating Party (1880-1881) by Pierre-Auguste RenoirThe Phillips Collection

If you'd rather keep your feet dry, you could Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette. This vibrant café-bar was a favourite of artists and writers, with all-day dancing and drinking.

Renoir's 1876 painting captures the vivacious characters you're likely to bump into. Shall we?

Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette (1876) by Auguste RenoirMusée d’Orsay, Paris

Paul Cézanne's Bathers paintings are amongst his most enigmatic. Androgynous figures in a hazy landscape merge together to become one. 

Ceźanne painted many versions, but this one, painted between 1894–1905, hangs at London's National Gallery.

Bathers (Les Grandes Baigneuses) (about 1894-1905) by Paul CézanneThe National Gallery, London

Cézanne's Bathers develop the themes and styles he first explored in his painting The Pond, made some time between 1877–79, when he lived in the town of Auvers, just outside of Paris.

While his subjects seem relaxed, they're also distant - in a world of their own.

The Pond (about 1877 - 1879) by Paul CézanneMuseum of Fine Arts, Boston

James Tissot's 1876 Holyday shows a group of elegantly dressed men and women during a picnic at the pond in his garden.

On the right is Tissot's muse and lover, Kathleen Newton, who appears to avert her eyes from us, looking on.

Holyday (c.1876) by James TissotTate Britain

Déjeuner sur l'herbe - the painting that sparked a thousand picnics. 

This iconic masterpiece by Edouard Manet was originally rejected from the exclusive Paris Salon, but went on to inspire generations of painters and picnickers looking to recreate a slice of art history.

Luncheon on the Grass (1863) by Edouard ManetMusée d’Orsay, Paris

Explore more of the outdoors with 5 Landscapes You'll Love to Zoom Into

Pedernal (1941) by Georgia O'KeeffeGeorgia O'Keeffe Museum

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