Louis Antoine Léon Riesener was a French Romantic painter.
Enchanted by the play of light and reflections which transformed the appearance of matter, Riesener began a new aesthetic that made him one of the precursors of impressionism. He was a passionate colourist and researched all the nuances of colour. He studied techniques from ancient Greece and the Renaissance, including Titian, Veronese and Correggio. Impressed by Rubens' research into colour, he considered him the Shakespeare of painting and was greatly inspired by him. Very early in his career Riesener studied tonal divisions, well before the physician Chevreul discovered their scientific basis. His tactile taste led him to look for the most perfect expression of matter and particularly of skin. He put poetry into his painting by the play of shadow and he passionately admired nature, life and all the beauties they produced.
He researched the subject of life in the countryside and, liking to paint reality, said he wanted to express "the heat of the day, the melancholy of the evening, meadows, flowers as they are in nature". His study of the elements caused him to paint a series of skies which varied according to the light and time of day – the subjects were ahead of their time and Riesener had to fight hard against the Salon juries and the Institut. Using pure colours, he excluded the blacks and whites which had been used for shadows and light before him. His material science of colour was the opposition which gave birth to contrasts from juxtaposed pigments. He did not portray faces by contours, but by shadows and modelling.