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Famous Impressionism Art
Dawit Abeza
Famous Impressionism Art

Famous Impressionism Art

What is impressionism art?

Impressionism is an artistic direction in literature, music, and painting. It began at the end of the 19th century to bring emotion into artistic creation and form to expressive art. Its bases are on realistic and naturalistic observation of nature.

Impressionism establishes a new relationship with the art world. Painters were no longer satisfied by transforming, developing traditional forms, as they did with other past movements they where looking for a new ways of visual expression.

How did impressionists paint?

An Impressionist artist left the studio to paint under the open sky. The most important criterion of this artistic direction is in the presentation of objects and nature by color analysis. And painting in open air where there is sun light and air.

One of the most consistent impressionists was the French painter Claude Monet. After his impressionism artwork: Impression, Sunrise in which the whole impressionism movement was influenced by. The driving force of this artistic direction was the desire of several artists to approach painting in a different manner compared to the official circles of the Parisian institutional art: the Salon.

Artists came from different schools, each separately, and instinctively. The themes, techniques, and artistic language of their works were features that distinguished Impressionism.

Impressionist Artists

  • Camille Pissarro
  • Alfred Sisley
  • Pierre-Auguste Renoir
  • Claude Monet
  • Frédéric Bazille
  • Armand Guillaumin
  • Berthe Morisot
  • Edouard Manet
  • Edgar Degas
  • Mary Cassatt
  • Paul Cézanne
  • James McNeill Whistler

What are the characteristics of impressionism art?

Impressionist painters approached nature in a completely different way than their predecessors. Their new style has changed the traditional conventional approach of art. Impressionist artists did not paint nature as a static subject but endeavored to convey its constant movement and pulsation. 

Impressionist painters often displayed the breeze, the ever-changing sky, and light reflected on the water. For Impressionist, nature was the proper mistress to their works. They immersed themselves in it and the visually displayed their experience through their art. Impressionists chose motif landscapes such as rivers, regattas, picnic scenes, snow, clouds, and water lilies. 

Parisian life

In addition to the landscape, light, and atmosphere, the Impressionists also dealt with scenes from everyday life. The range of themes expands from landscapes to city life, dances, horse races, cafes, and theaters.

Edgar Degas is remembered as a great artist who painted human figures, depicted his works indoors compared to other impressionists who painted outside. Classical ballet was highly valued in Paris. And Degas painted countless versions of ballet scenes with ballerinas dressed in white. Depicting the passion of Parisians.

The Impressionists released the color of the descriptive role, which means that, for example, the sky does not necessarily have to be blue, the grass green, and so on. The visual shapes and colors of objects in Impressionist paintings are dynamic and influenced by light changes and the shadows are transparent.

What inspired impressionism art? 

Changes in society throughout history usually influence changes in art. During the "long 19th century" (the period from the Great French Revolution of 1789 to the First World War in 1914), it led to changes in society through political and social revolutions which helped inspire the impressionist movement.

So what was different about the Impressionists compared to the works of the old masters? Impressionism provoked a significant public reaction in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The industrial revolution also contributed to impressionism movement.

There were new state systems, a new bourgeois class, urbanization, colonization, and many other phenomenas. There where many discoveries, such as the steam engine or mechanical loom, enabled faster and easier production and the accelerated development of technology, science, and traffic. Among these significant discoveries was photography, which had a great influence on art. 

Inspired by this new invention, many Impressionist painters began to make some changes to their compositions. One of the main goals of an impressionist painter was to capture the moment within an image, as a camera could do. With colors and various different techniques, the Impressionists managed to preserve the significance of the painting and prevent photography from completely taking its place in art.

When did impressionism art start?

Impressionism began in the 1860s. Its emergence and development were conditioned by history and culture in the metropolis of Europe.

The lively nightlife of Paris and Bohemian centers where friendships nurtured, rivalries erupted, exchanges ideas, and especially developed a sense of community — all this was important for the development of Impressionism. It had everything that a young artist of that time needed — art, music, literature, philosophy, theater, opera, dance — young people came from all over the world. One of the most prominent places where impressionist artists gathered at was the Café Guerbois.

In 1863, Emperor Napoleon III established the Salon des Refusés. During that time there were various Impressionists among them, included Pissarro and Manet. Salon des Refusés became an official institutions which enabled artists to sell their works and increased their social recognition. Furthermore, the social, economic, and cultural development contributed in creating a new system of presenting art in which artists where independent.

The Impressionists had eight exhibitions between 1874 and 1886. Off course the number of artists and names changed, and so did the places where they exhibited their art. Over time, the impressionists separated, some sided with the Salon (for financial reasons and fame), and others continued in their own individual style.

Impressionism remains one of the most significant artistic movements of the 19th century. Due to its innovative technique, expression, themes, color, and abstraction, thus laying the foundations for 20th-century post-impressionism and contemporary art.


Impression, Sunrise by Claude Monet

Today, this impressive work of art is at the Marmottan Monet Museum in Paris. The painting was created in 1872 and represents the French port of Le Havre. The technique is oil on canvas, and the dimensions are 48 cm x 63 cm.

The water and sky almost merge to create a volatile blue mist. The boats are accentuated and brought to the fore, painted with a free style stroke of dark blue that emerges from the morning mist. In the upper parts of the canvas are pink tones of the sky, and a smaller part of the water is painted in orange tones.

The painting was first exhibited in a solo exhibition which was held by photographer Felix Nadar in his own studio. This exhibition was prepared by Claude Monet and 29 other painters. The exhibition had sharp criticism. The name Impressionism was first used by Louis Leroy when he wrote an article about the exhibition for the magazine Le Charivari.


Luncheon of the Boating Party by Auguste Renoir 

Luncheon of the Boating Party by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

The painting shows a lunch scene in a restaurant: Maison Fournaise, on the banks of the Îsle de Chatou. In the background, we can see sailboats in the river and a merchant tug. We can also see a railway bridge. The picturesque sunny scene of civic leisure is pleasant, relaxing, and somewhat sensual. Luncheon of the Boating Party, Renoir's is at The Phillips Collection in Washington, DC.

Top 10 Most Famous Paintings by Pierre Auguste Renoir


Woman With a Parasol by Claude Monet

In this painting are Monet's wife Camille and their son Jean. Once again, the lighting and freely applied brushstrokes create the mood for this painting. You can almost feel the wind spreading Mrs. Monets' skirt as she turns and looks at her husband for a moment before continuing to walk. Monet has captured a snapshot of his family.


The Artist's Garden at Giverny by Monet

The Artist's Garden at Giverny by Monet

While the deep purple colors of lilac dominate this painting, we can see how red, gold, blue, and brown colors are spread throughout the composition. They are merged into each other with a mastery.

This artwork is a great example of what made Impressionism such a revolutionary style at the turn of the century. The liveliness that Monet creates with the use of bold colors and quick brushstrokes is beautifully displayed. We can imagine and see the garden the way Monet saw it.

Monet created 250 paintings inspired by scenes from his garden. Such as his water lilies, mourning willow, and bright colored flowers. Monet lived in Giverny, from 1883 until he died in 1926. Since 1980, Claude Monet's house and garden was turned into a museum, it has been visited by thousands of tourists.


Paris Street; Rainy Day by Gustave Caillebotte

Paris Street; Rainy Day by Gustave Caillebotte

Beginning in the mid-19th century, Paris launched a plan to renovate its narrow city streets and create wide boulevards to allow pedestrian to walk freely and carriages to move with less traffic. Caillebotte was inspired by the renovation and the newly redesigned intersection of new Rue de Turin and Rue de Moscou, close to his neighborhood. Caillebotte's painting shows the cityscape in the background along with the newly built sidewalk.

When Paris Street, Rainy Day exhibited at an Impressionist exhibition in 1877, it provoked critics to making comparisons with photography — Due to the wide angles, deep focusing, and cutting off visible figures.


The Absinthe Drinker by Edgar Degas

In The Absinthe Drinker, Edgar Degas depicts a scene from the bohemian life of Paris at the end of the 19th century. Absinthe was a favorite drink of many creative artists who lived in Paris and made the city the center of art life.

The Absinthe Drinker shows a man and a woman sitting in a Parisian cafe in New Athens. The woman looks down and stares blankly at the glass which is filled with a greenish liquid, absinthe. She appears to be unaware of the man sitting next to her. Although the man has his elbow on the table, close to her drink. He has a pipe in his mouth and appears to be looking at something. 

The painting shows one aspect of Parisian life at the time: the growing social isolation, and the alienation of the people. Alcoholism was a social scourge and associated with the working class, as well as the art world.

20 Famous Edgar Degas Paintings


The Cliff Walk at Pourville by Monet

Monet beautifully inserted figures into this landscape painting. He integrated the impressionist style elements through texture and color. The grass, sky, and ocean all made up of short, lively, and curved brush strokes. Cliff Walk in Pourville represents impressionism though nature by showcasing the movement of air and sea. Monet was able to quickly capture this moment in this composition.

Claude Oscar Monet Artworks


Little Girl in a Blue Armchair by Mary Cassatt

Cassatt's shows the girl with a disinterested look. The girl's pose brings into play the naturalism found within adolescent youth and is further characterized by her relaxed body position. Traditionally, child portraits have idealized children into adults. In contrast, Cassatt's painting shows the child's boredom. 

Top 20 Mary Cassatt Famous Paintings

Mary Cassatt Paintings


Check out these Famous Artists who have shaped the art world!

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