The Pain Passes, But the Beauty Remains

16 Apr 2003 (Wed)

(Extracted from a write-up in a prayer book by Fr Mark Link, sj.)

Auguste RenoirWHEN FRENCH IMPRESSIONIST PAINTER Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) was confined to his home during the last decade of his life, Henri Matisse was nearly 28 years younger than him. The two great artists were dear friends and frequent companions. Matisse visited him daily. Renoir, almost paralyzed by arthritis, continued to paint in spite of his infirmities. One day as Matisse watched the elder painter work in his studio, fighting torturous pain with each brush stroke, he blurted out: “Auguste, why do you continue to paint when you are in such agony?”

Renoir said: “The pain passes but the beauty remains.” So, Renoir continued to put paint to canvas. One of his most famous paintings, The Bathers, was completed 2 years before his death, 14 years after he got the disease.

(See also the Auguste Renoir page in the Web Museum.)

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