What is Impressionism in Art?

What is Impressionism in Art?

Impressionism in art is a style that communicates the nuances of light, reflection, and separated colors. This style of painting was first seen in the mid-19th century.

When did impressionism art start?

Impressionism began in the 1860s.


Impressionism in art is a style of painting that emphasizes the effects of light and movement. This style is ideal for capturing fleeting moments in life, bringing viewers to a particular place in time.

Artists who were interested in this style often incorporated everyday themes and scenes in their work. They also often ignored traditional rules of academic painting, preferring to paint in open air.

In his influential 1894 book Crumbling Idols, Hamlin Garland wrote about the triumph of Impressionism in Chicago, describing the dazzling sunlight, unified impressions, and rich raw colors.

Garland was a member of the "Critical Triumvirate," a group of writers who published non-fictional discourses on the style.

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The impressionist movement

The movement originated in the late nineteenth century when a group of artists in Paris organized independent art exhibitions. These exhibitions brought the artists fame and recognition, but were initially opposed by established academic artists.

In 1909, Birge Harrison, a critic for Scribner's Magazine, used the term "pointillists" to describe the painters who were interested in light. In addition, he spoke of the vibrating effects of Impressionism.

Other artists involved in the Impressionist movement included Claude Monet, John Appleton Brown, Theodore Robinson, Childe Hassam, and John Singer Sargent. In America, there were many Impressionists, including John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, Daniel Garber, William Merritt Chase, Alfred H. Twachtman, and William McGregor Paxton.

Impressionism was also deeply influenced by music. The composer Claude Debussy's Prelude to "L'isle Joyeuse" was a massive success when it premiered in 1894. Impressionism in art and music has evolved over the centuries, and its influence continues to influence the creation of art.


Claude Monet

The Impressionist style of art was mainly developed by the French artist Claude Monet. His style incorporated the use of natural light and landscapes.

He was not the first to paint in this style, but his work helped define the movement and make him one of the most famous painters of the period. Monet's work is full of color and light and emphasizes undulating reflections and breaking sunlight. The painter sought to capture the evanescent details of a morning.

In addition to his landscape paintings, Claude Monet studied light and the effects it had on colors. This research was designed to help him depict landscapes more naturally.

During his lifetime, Monet created more than 25 paintings that displayed the different stages of the day, changing light conditions and changing seasons.

His paintings were an important precursor to modernism, and his style was highly influential for a generation of artists. Claude Monet was a pioneer in the field of outdoor landscape painting and is considered one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century.

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 the light reflected on the water. For Impressionists, nature was the proper mistress of their works.

They immersed themselves in it and visually displayed their experience through their art. Impressionists chose motif landscapes such as rivers, regattas, picnic scenes, snow, clouds, and water lilies. 

How did impressionists paint?

An Impressionist artist left the studio to paint under the open sky. 

What inspired impressionism in 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), led to changes in society through political and social revolutions which helped inspire the impressionist movement.

The industrial revolution also contributed to the impressionism movement. There were new state systems, a new bourgeois class, urbanization, colonization, and many other phenomena.

There were many discoveries, such as the steam engine or mechanical loom, that 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.

Impressionist art techniques 

Some of the key techniques used in impressionist paintings include:

  1. Loose brushwork: Impressionist artists often used short, broken brushstrokes to create a sense of movement and to capture the fleeting nature of light and color. This technique allowed them to convey the impression of a scene or subject, rather than creating a highly detailed, realistic representation.

  2. Bright, bold colors: Impressionist artists were known for their use of bright, vibrant colors, often applied in a more painterly manner than in traditional paintings. They used color to capture the changing qualities of light and to create a sense of atmosphere and mood.

  3. Light and shadow: Impressionist artists were interested in the way that light played across the surfaces of objects and landscapes. They often used loose brushstrokes and vibrant colors to create a sense of light and shadow, rather than using traditional techniques to create a realistic representation of form.

  4. Choosing a vantage point: Impressionist artists often chose unconventional vantage points from which to paint their subjects, such as close-up views or views from above or below. This allowed them to capture a sense of movement and change, as well as to create a more dynamic composition.

  5. Experimenting with materials: Impressionist artists often experimented with different materials and techniques, such as using different types of paint, applying paint in layers, or using different tools to create texture and surface effects. This allowed them to capture the fleeting, ephemeral nature of their subjects and to create a sense of movement and change.


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