The year is 1915. A beautiful young woman bicycling through sun-dappled woods passes under an effigy of a German soldier and seems entirely unfazed. World War I is raging elsewhere in Europe, but here on the French Riviera life is serene.
The cyclist, Andree, is on her way to pose for an elderly Impressionist painter, Pierre-Auguste Renoir (Michel Bouquet), whom she somewhat startles by claiming to be an artist herself.
“An artist,” wonders the great man.
“Actress, dancer, singer,” she says, smiling, as he chuckles. Hobbled by arthritis, Renoir spends his days in a wheelchair, hands so swollen he needs help just picking up a brush. Still, he can make canvases glow, and in Andree he finds inspiration — velvety skin that soaks up light; flaming red hair; firm, rounded flesh.
“Titian,” he says, “would have worshipped her.”
As she lounges naked on divans, in bed and in a field,