Impressionism

Impressionism

Overview

Impressionism was a 19th-century art movement
Art movement
An art movement is a tendency or style in art with a specific common philosophy or goal, followed by a group of artists during a restricted period of time, or, at least, with the heyday of the movement defined within a number of years...

 that originated with a group of Paris-based artists whose independent exhibitions
Art exhibition
Art exhibitions are traditionally the space in which art objects meet an audience. The exhibit is universally understood to be for some temporary period unless, as is rarely true, it is stated to be a "permanent exhibition". In American English, they may be called "exhibit", "exposition" or...

 brought them to prominence during the 1870s and 1880s. The name of the style is derived from the title of a Claude Monet
Claude Monet
Claude Monet was a founder of French impressionist painting, and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement's philosophy of expressing one's perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein-air landscape painting. . Retrieved 6 January 2007...

 work, Impression, soleil levant (Impression, Sunrise
Impression, Sunrise
Impression, Sunrise is a painting by Claude Monet. It gave rise to the name of the Impressionist movement.-History:...

), which provoked the critic Louis Leroy
Louis Leroy
Louis Leroy was a French 19th century engraver, painter, and successful playwright. However, he is remembered as the journalist and art critic for the French satirical newspaper Le Charivari, who coined the term "impressionists" to satirise the artists now known by the word.Leroy's review was...

 to coin the term in a satiric
Satire
Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement...

 review published in the Parisian newspaper Le Charivari
Le Charivari
Le Charivari was an illustrated newspaper published in Paris, France from 1832 to 1937. It published caricatures, political cartoons and reviews...

.

Characteristics of Impressionist paintings include relatively small, thin, yet visible brush strokes; open composition
Composition (visual arts)
In the visual arts – in particular painting, graphic design, photography and sculpture – composition is the placement or arrangement of visual elements or ingredients in a work of art or a photograph, as distinct from the subject of a work...

; emphasis on accurate depiction of light in its changing qualities (often accentuating the effects of the passage of time); common, ordinary subject matter; the inclusion of movement as a crucial element of human perception and experience; and unusual visual angles.
The development of Impressionism in the visual arts
Visual arts
The visual arts are art forms that create works which are primarily visual in nature, such as ceramics, drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, design, crafts, and often modern visual arts and architecture...

 was soon followed by analogous styles in other media which became known as Impressionist music
Impressionist music
Impressionism in music was a tendency in European classical music, mainly in France, which appeared in the late nineteenth century and continued into the middle of the twentieth century. Similarly to its precursor in the visual arts, musical impressionism focuses on a suggestion and an atmosphere...

 and Impressionist literature
Impressionism (literature)
Influenced by the Impressionist art movement, many writers adopted a style that relied on associations. The Dutch Tachtigers explicitly tried to incorporate impressionism into their prose, poems, and other literary works...

.

Impressionism also describes art created in this style, but outside of the late 19th century time period.


Radicals in their time, early Impressionists violated the rules of academic painting.
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Encyclopedia

Impressionism was a 19th-century art movement
Art movement
An art movement is a tendency or style in art with a specific common philosophy or goal, followed by a group of artists during a restricted period of time, or, at least, with the heyday of the movement defined within a number of years...

 that originated with a group of Paris-based artists whose independent exhibitions
Art exhibition
Art exhibitions are traditionally the space in which art objects meet an audience. The exhibit is universally understood to be for some temporary period unless, as is rarely true, it is stated to be a "permanent exhibition". In American English, they may be called "exhibit", "exposition" or...

 brought them to prominence during the 1870s and 1880s. The name of the style is derived from the title of a Claude Monet
Claude Monet
Claude Monet was a founder of French impressionist painting, and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement's philosophy of expressing one's perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein-air landscape painting. . Retrieved 6 January 2007...

 work, Impression, soleil levant (Impression, Sunrise
Impression, Sunrise
Impression, Sunrise is a painting by Claude Monet. It gave rise to the name of the Impressionist movement.-History:...

), which provoked the critic Louis Leroy
Louis Leroy
Louis Leroy was a French 19th century engraver, painter, and successful playwright. However, he is remembered as the journalist and art critic for the French satirical newspaper Le Charivari, who coined the term "impressionists" to satirise the artists now known by the word.Leroy's review was...

 to coin the term in a satiric
Satire
Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement...

 review published in the Parisian newspaper Le Charivari
Le Charivari
Le Charivari was an illustrated newspaper published in Paris, France from 1832 to 1937. It published caricatures, political cartoons and reviews...

.

Characteristics of Impressionist paintings include relatively small, thin, yet visible brush strokes; open composition
Composition (visual arts)
In the visual arts – in particular painting, graphic design, photography and sculpture – composition is the placement or arrangement of visual elements or ingredients in a work of art or a photograph, as distinct from the subject of a work...

; emphasis on accurate depiction of light in its changing qualities (often accentuating the effects of the passage of time); common, ordinary subject matter; the inclusion of movement as a crucial element of human perception and experience; and unusual visual angles.
The development of Impressionism in the visual arts
Visual arts
The visual arts are art forms that create works which are primarily visual in nature, such as ceramics, drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, design, crafts, and often modern visual arts and architecture...

 was soon followed by analogous styles in other media which became known as Impressionist music
Impressionist music
Impressionism in music was a tendency in European classical music, mainly in France, which appeared in the late nineteenth century and continued into the middle of the twentieth century. Similarly to its precursor in the visual arts, musical impressionism focuses on a suggestion and an atmosphere...

 and Impressionist literature
Impressionism (literature)
Influenced by the Impressionist art movement, many writers adopted a style that relied on associations. The Dutch Tachtigers explicitly tried to incorporate impressionism into their prose, poems, and other literary works...

.

Impressionism also describes art created in this style, but outside of the late 19th century time period.

Overview



Radicals in their time, early Impressionists violated the rules of academic painting. They began by constructing their pictures from freely brushed colours that took precedence over lines and contours, following the example of painters such as Eugène Delacroix
Eugène Delacroix
Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix was a French Romantic artist regarded from the outset of his career as the leader of the French Romantic school...

. They also painted realistic scenes of modern life, and often painted outdoors. Previously, still life
Still life
A still life is a work of art depicting mostly inanimate subject matter, typically commonplace objects which may be either natural or man-made...

s and portrait
Portrait
thumb|250px|right|Portrait of [[Thomas Jefferson]] by [[Rembrandt Peale]], 1805. [[New-York Historical Society]].A portrait is a painting, photograph, sculpture, or other artistic representation of a person, in which the face and its expression is predominant. The intent is to display the likeness,...

s as well as landscapes
Landscape art
Landscape art is a term that covers the depiction of natural scenery such as mountains, valleys, trees, rivers, and forests, and especially art where the main subject is a wide view, with its elements arranged into a coherent composition. In other works landscape backgrounds for figures can still...

 had usually been painted in the studio. The Impressionists found that they could capture the momentary and transient effects of sunlight by painting en plein air
En plein air
En plein air is a French expression which means "in the open air", and is particularly used to describe the act of painting outdoors.Artists have long painted outdoors, but in the mid-19th century working in natural light became particularly important to the Barbizon school and Impressionism...

. They portrayed overall visual effects instead of details, and used short "broken" brush strokes of mixed and pure unmixed colour—not blended smoothly or shaded, as was customary—in order to achieve the effect of intense colour vibration.

Although the emergence of Impressionism in France happened at a time when a number of other painters, including the Italian artists known as the Macchiaioli
Macchiaioli
The Macchiaioli were a group of Italian painters active in Tuscany in the second half of the nineteenth century, who, breaking with the antiquated conventions taught by the Italian academies of art, did much of their painting outdoors in order to capture natural light, shade, and colour...

, and Winslow Homer
Winslow Homer
Winslow Homer was an American landscape painter and printmaker, best known for his marine subjects. He is considered one of the foremost painters in 19th century America and a preeminent figure in American art....

 in the United States, were also exploring plein-air painting, the Impressionists developed new techniques that were specific to the style. Encompassing what its adherents argued was a different way of seeing, it was an art of immediacy and movement, of candid poses and compositions, of the play of light expressed in a bright and varied use of colour.

The public, at first hostile, gradually came to believe that the Impressionists had captured a fresh and original vision, even if the new style did not receive the approval of the art critics and establishment.

By recreating the sensation in the eye that views the subject, rather than delineating the details of the subject, and by creating a welter of techniques and forms, Impressionism became a precursor of various styles of painting, including Neo-Impressionism
Neo-impressionism
Neo-impressionism was coined by French art critic Félix Fénéon in 1886 to describe an art movement founded by Georges Seurat. Seurat’s greatest masterpiece, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, marked the beginning of this movement when it first made its appearance at an exhibition...

, Post-Impressionism
Post-Impressionism
Post-Impressionism is the term coined by the British artist and art critic Roger Fry in 1910 to describe the development of French art since Manet. Fry used the term when he organized the 1910 exhibition Manet and Post-Impressionism...

, Fauvism
Fauvism
Fauvism is the style of les Fauves , a short-lived and loose group of early twentieth-century Modern artists whose works emphasized painterly qualities and strong colour over the representational or realistic values retained by Impressionism...

, and Cubism
Cubism
Cubism was a 20th century avant-garde art movement, pioneered by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, that revolutionized European painting and sculpture, and inspired related movements in music, literature and architecture...

.

Beginnings



In a time of change as Emperor Napoleon III of France
Napoleon III of France
Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte was the President of the French Second Republic and as Napoleon III, the ruler of the Second French Empire. He was the nephew and heir of Napoleon I, christened as Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte...

 rebuilt Paris and waged war, the Académie des Beaux-Arts
Académie des beaux-arts
The Académie des Beaux-Arts is a French learned society. It is one of the five academies of the Institut de France.It was created in 1795 as the merger of the:* Académie de peinture et de sculpture...

 dominated French art during the middle of the 19th century. The Académie was the preserver of traditional standards for French painting, both in content and style. Historical subjects, religious themes, and portraits were valued (landscape and still life were not), and the Académie preferred carefully finished images which looked realistic when examined closely. Colour was somber and conservative, and the traces of brush strokes were suppressed, concealing the artist's personality, emotions, and working techniques.

The Académie had an annual, juried art show, the Salon de Paris, and artists whose work was displayed in the show won prizes, garnered commissions, and enhanced their prestige. The standards of the juries represented the values of the Académie, represented by the works of such artists as Jean-Léon Gérôme
Jean-Léon Gérôme
Jean-Léon Gérôme was a French painter and sculptor in the style now known as Academicism. The range of his oeuvre included historical painting, Greek mythology, Orientalism, portraits and other subjects, bringing the Academic painting tradition to an artistic climax.-Life:Jean-Léon Gérôme was born...

 and Alexandre Cabanel
Alexandre Cabanel
Alexandre Cabanel was a French painter.- Biography :Cabanel was born in Montpellier, Hérault. He painted historical, classical and religious subjects in the academic style. He was also well known as a portrait painter...

. Some younger artists painted in a lighter and brighter manner than painters of the preceding generation, extending further the realism
Realism (arts)
Realism in the visual arts and literature refers to the general attempt to depict subjects "in accordance with secular, empirical rules", as they are considered to exist in third person objective reality, without embellishment or interpretation...

 of Gustave Courbet
Gustave Courbet
Jean Désiré Gustave Courbet was a French painter who led the Realist movement in 19th-century French painting. The Realist movement bridged the Romantic movement , with the Barbizon School and the Impressionists...

 and the Barbizon school
Barbizon school
The Barbizon school of painters were part of a movement towards realism in art, which arose in the context of the dominant Romantic Movement of the time. The Barbizon school was active roughly from 1830 through 1870...

. They were more interested in painting landscape and contemporary life than in recreating scenes from history. Each year, the works they submitted to the Salon jury were rejected in favour of works by artists faithful to the approved style. A group of young realists, Claude Monet
Claude Monet
Claude Monet was a founder of French impressionist painting, and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement's philosophy of expressing one's perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein-air landscape painting. . Retrieved 6 January 2007...

, Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Pierre-Auguste Renoir was a French artist who was a leading painter in the development of the Impressionist style. As a celebrator of beauty, and especially feminine sensuality, it has been said that "Renoir is the final representative of a tradition which runs directly from Rubens to...

, Alfred Sisley
Alfred Sisley
Alfred Sisley was an Impressionist landscape painter who was born and spent most of his life, in France, but retained British citizenship. He was the most consistent of the Impressionists in his dedication to painting landscape en plein air...

, and Frédéric Bazille
Frédéric Bazille
Jean Frédéric Bazille was a French Impressionist painter. Many of Bazille's major works are examples of figure painting in which Bazille placed the subject figure within a landscape painted en plein air....

, who had studied under Charles Gleyre
Marc-Charles-Gabriel Gleyre
Charles Gleyre , was a Swiss artist. He took over the studio of Paul Delaroche in 1843 and taught a number of younger artists who became prominent, including Claude Monet, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley and James Abbott McNeill Whistler.His father and mother died when he was eight or nine...

, became friends and often painted together. They gathered at the Café Guerbois
Café Guerbois
Café Guerbois, on Avenue de Clichy in Paris, was the site of late 19th century discussions and planning amongst artists, writers and art lovers – the bohèmes , in contrast to the bourgeois....

, where the discussions were often led by Édouard Manet
Édouard Manet
Édouard Manet was a French painter. One of the first 19th-century artists to approach modern-life subjects, he was a pivotal figure in the transition from Realism to Impressionism....

, whom the younger artists greatly admired. They were soon joined by Camille Pissarro
Camille Pissarro
Camille Pissarro was a French Impressionist and Neo-Impressionist painter born on the island of St Thomas . His importance resides in his contributions to both Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, as he was the only artist to exhibit in both forms...

, Paul Cézanne
Paul Cézanne
Paul Cézanne was a French artist and Post-Impressionist painter whose work laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th century conception of artistic endeavour to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century. Cézanne can be said to form the bridge between late 19th...

, and Armand Guillaumin
Armand Guillaumin
Armand Guillaumin , was a French impressionist painter and lithographer.Born Jean-Baptiste Armand Guillaumin in Paris, he worked at his uncle's lingerie shop while attending evening drawing lessons. He also worked for a French government railway before studying at the Académie Suisse in 1861...

.



In 1863, the jury rejected Manet's The Luncheon on the Grass
The Luncheon on the Grass
Le déjeuner sur l'herbe – originally titled Le Bain – is a large oil on canvas painting by Édouard Manet created in 1862 and 1863. The painting depicts the juxtaposition of a female nude and a scantily dressed female bather on a picnic with two fully dressed men in a rural setting...

(Le déjeuner sur l'herbe) primarily because it depicted a nude woman with two clothed men at a picnic. While nudes were routinely accepted by the Salon when featured in historical and allegorical paintings, the jury condemned Manet for placing a realistic nude in a contemporary setting. The jury's severely worded rejection of Manet's painting appalled his admirers, and the unusually large number of rejected works that year perturbed many French artists.

After seeing the rejected works in 1863, Emperor Napoleon III decreed that the public be allowed to judge the work themselves, and the Salon des Refusés
Salon des Refusés
The Salon des Refusés, French for “exhibition of rejects” , is generally an exhibition of works rejected by the jury of the official Paris Salon, but the term is most famously used to refer to the Salon des Refusés of 1863.-Background:...

 (Salon of the Refused) was organized. While many viewers came only to laugh, the Salon des Refusés drew attention to the existence of a new tendency in art and attracted more visitors than the regular Salon.

Artists' petitions requesting a new Salon des Refusés in 1867, and again in 1872, were denied. During the latter part of 1873, Monet
Claude Monet
Claude Monet was a founder of French impressionist painting, and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement's philosophy of expressing one's perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein-air landscape painting. . Retrieved 6 January 2007...

, Renoir
Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Pierre-Auguste Renoir was a French artist who was a leading painter in the development of the Impressionist style. As a celebrator of beauty, and especially feminine sensuality, it has been said that "Renoir is the final representative of a tradition which runs directly from Rubens to...

, Pissarro
Camille Pissarro
Camille Pissarro was a French Impressionist and Neo-Impressionist painter born on the island of St Thomas . His importance resides in his contributions to both Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, as he was the only artist to exhibit in both forms...

, and Sisley
Alfred Sisley
Alfred Sisley was an Impressionist landscape painter who was born and spent most of his life, in France, but retained British citizenship. He was the most consistent of the Impressionists in his dedication to painting landscape en plein air...

 organized the Société Anonyme Coopérative des Artistes Peintres, Sculpteurs, Graveurs ("Cooperative and Anonymous Association of Painters, Sculptors, and Engravers") for the purpose of exhibiting their artworks independently. Members of the association, which soon included Cézanne
Paul Cézanne
Paul Cézanne was a French artist and Post-Impressionist painter whose work laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th century conception of artistic endeavour to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century. Cézanne can be said to form the bridge between late 19th...

, Berthe Morisot
Berthe Morisot
Berthe Morisot was a painter and a member of the circle of painters in Paris who became known as the Impressionists. She was described by Gustave Geffroy in 1894 as one of "les trois grandes dames" of Impressionism alongside Marie Bracquemond and Mary Cassatt.In 1864, she exhibited for the first...

, and Edgar Degas
Edgar Degas
Edgar Degas[p] , born Hilaire-Germain-Edgar De Gas, was a French artist famous for his work in painting, sculpture, printmaking and drawing. He is regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism although he rejected the term, and preferred to be called a realist...

, were expected to forswear participation in the Salon. The organizers invited a number of other progressive artists to join them in their inaugural exhibition, including the older Eugène Boudin
Eugène Boudin
Eugène Boudin was one of the first French landscape painters to paint outdoors.Boudin was a marine painter, and expert in the rendering of all that goes upon the sea and along its shores...

, whose example had first persuaded Monet to adopt plein air painting years before. Another painter who greatly influenced Monet and his friends, Johan Jongkind
Johan Jongkind
Johan Barthold Jongkind was a Dutch painter and printmaker regarded as a forerunner of Impressionism who influenced Claude Monet....

, declined to participate, as did Manet
Manet
-MANET as an abbreviation:*MANET is a mobile ad hoc network, a self-configuring mobile wireless network.*MANET database or Molecular Ancestry Network, bioinformatics database-People with the surname Manet:*Édouard Manet, a 19th-century French painter....

. In total, thirty artists participated in their first exhibition, held in April 1874 at the studio of the photographer Nadar
Nadar (photographer)
Félix Nadar was the pseudonym of Gaspard-Félix Tournachon , a French photographer, caricaturist, journalist, novelist and balloonist. Some photographs by Nadar are marked "P. Nadar" for "Photographie Nadar" .-Life: born in April 1820 in Paris...

.


The critical response was mixed, with Monet and Cézanne receiving the harshest attacks. Critic and humorist Louis Leroy
Louis Leroy
Louis Leroy was a French 19th century engraver, painter, and successful playwright. However, he is remembered as the journalist and art critic for the French satirical newspaper Le Charivari, who coined the term "impressionists" to satirise the artists now known by the word.Leroy's review was...

 wrote a scathing review in the newspaper Le Charivari in which, making wordplay with the title of Claude Monet's Impression, Sunrise
Impression, Sunrise
Impression, Sunrise is a painting by Claude Monet. It gave rise to the name of the Impressionist movement.-History:...

(Impression, soleil levant), he gave the artists the name by which they would become known. Derisively titling his article The Exhibition of the Impressionists, Leroy declared that Monet's painting was at most, a sketch, and could hardly be termed a finished work.

He wrote, in the form of a dialog between viewers,
Impression—I was certain of it. I was just telling myself that, since I was impressed, there had to be some impression in it ... and what freedom, what ease of workmanship! Wallpaper in its embryonic state is more finished than that seascape.



The term "Impressionists" quickly gained favour with the public. It was also accepted by the artists themselves, even though they were a diverse group in style and temperament, unified primarily by their spirit of independence and rebellion. They exhibited together—albeit with shifting membership—eight times between 1874 and 1886.

Monet, Sisley, Morisot, and Pissarro may be considered the "purest" Impressionists, in their consistent pursuit of an art of spontaneity, sunlight, and colour. Degas rejected much of this, as he believed in the primacy of drawing over colour and belittled the practice of painting outdoors. Renoir turned away from Impressionism for a time during the 1880s, and never entirely regained his commitment to its ideas. Édouard Manet, despite his role as a leader to the group, never abandoned his liberal use of black as a colour, and never participated in the Impressionist exhibitions. He continued to submit his works to the Salon, where his painting Spanish Singer had won a 2nd class medal in 1861, and he urged the others to do likewise, arguing that "the Salon is the real field of battle" where a reputation could be made.


Among the artists of the core group (minus Bazille, who had died in the Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...

 in 1870), defections occurred as Cézanne, followed later by Renoir, Sisley, and Monet, abstained from the group exhibitions in order to submit their works to the Salon. Disagreements arose from issues such as Guillaumin's membership in the group, championed by Pissarro and Cézanne against opposition from Monet and Degas, who thought him unworthy. Degas invited Mary Cassatt
Mary Cassatt
Mary Stevenson Cassatt was an American painter and printmaker. She lived much of her adult life in France, where she first befriended Edgar Degas and later exhibited among the Impressionists...

 to display her work in the 1879 exhibition, but he also caused dissension by insisting on the inclusion of Jean-François Raffaëlli
Jean-François Raffaëlli
Jean-François Raffaëlli was a French realist painter, sculptor, and printmaker who exhibited with the Impressionists. He was also active as an actor and writer....

, Ludovic Lepic, and other realists who did not represent Impressionist practices, causing Monet in 1880 to accuse the Impressionists of "opening doors to first-come daubers". The group divided over the invitation of Paul Signac
Paul Signac
Paul Signac was a French neo-impressionist painter who, working with Georges Seurat, helped develop the pointillist style.-Biography:Paul Victor Jules Signac was born in Paris on 11 November 1863...

 and Georges-Pierre Seurat
Georges-Pierre Seurat
Georges-Pierre Seurat was a French Post-Impressionist painter and draftsman. He is noted for his innovative use of drawing media and for devising a technique of painting known as pointillism...

 to exhibit with them in 1886. Pissarro was the only artist to show at all eight Impressionist exhibitions.

The individual artists achieved few financial rewards from the Impressionist exhibitions, but their art gradually won a degree of public acceptance and support. Their dealer, Durand-Ruel
Paul Durand-Ruel
Paul Durand-Ruel was a French art dealer who is associated with the Impressionists. He was one of the first modern art dealers who provided support to his painters with stipends and solo exhibitions....

, played a major role in this as he kept their work before the public and arranged shows for them in London and New York. Although Sisley would die in poverty in 1899, Renoir had a great Salon success in 1879. Monet became secure financially during the early 1880s and so did Pissarro by the early 1890s. By this time the methods of Impressionist painting, in a diluted form, had become commonplace in Salon art.

Impressionist techniques


  • Short, thick strokes of paint are used to quickly capture the essence of the subject, rather than its details. The paint is often applied impasto
    Impasto
    In English, the borrowed Italian word impasto most commonly refers to a technique used in painting, where paint is laid on an area of the surface very thickly, usually thickly enough that the brush or painting-knife strokes are visible. Paint can also be mixed right on the canvas...

    .
  • Colours are applied side-by-side with as little mixing as possible, creating a vibrant surface. The optical mixing of colours occurs in the eye of the viewer.
  • Grays and dark tones are produced by mixing complementary colours. In pure Impressionism the use of black paint is avoided.
  • Wet paint is placed into wet paint
    Wet-on-wet
    Wet-on-wet is a painting technique in which layers of wet paint are applied to previous layers of wet paint. This technique requires a fast way of working, because the art work has to be finished before the first layers have dried....

     without waiting for successive applications to dry, producing softer edges and an intermingling of colour.
  • Painting during evening to get effets de soir
    Effets de soir
    Effets de soir are the effects of light caused by the sunset, twilight, or darkness of the early evening or matins. They appear frequently in works by such painters as Vincent van Gogh Bernard Fries, Armand Guillaumin, and Camille Corot...

    —the shadowy effects of the light in the evening or twilight.
  • Impressionist paintings do not exploit the transparency of thin paint films (glazes) which earlier artists manipulated carefully to produce effects. The surface of an Impressionist painting is typically opaque.
  • The play of natural light is emphasized. Close attention is paid to the reflection of colours from object to object.
  • In paintings made en plein air
    En plein air
    En plein air is a French expression which means "in the open air", and is particularly used to describe the act of painting outdoors.Artists have long painted outdoors, but in the mid-19th century working in natural light became particularly important to the Barbizon school and Impressionism...

    (outdoors), shadows are boldly painted with the blue of the sky as it is reflected onto surfaces, giving a sense of freshness that was not represented in painting previously. (Blue shadows on snow inspired the technique.)

Painters throughout history had occasionally used these methods, but Impressionists were the first to use all of them together, and with such consistency. Earlier artists whose works display these techniques include Frans Hals
Frans Hals
Frans Hals was a Dutch Golden Age painter. He is notable for his loose painterly brushwork, and helped introduce this lively style of painting into Dutch art. Hals was also instrumental in the evolution of 17th century group portraiture.-Biography:Hals was born in 1580 or 1581, in Antwerp...

, Diego Velázquez
Diego Velázquez
Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez was a Spanish painter who was the leading artist in the court of King Philip IV. He was an individualistic artist of the contemporary Baroque period, important as a portrait artist...

, Peter Paul Rubens, John Constable
John Constable
John Constable was an English Romantic painter. Born in Suffolk, he is known principally for his landscape paintings of Dedham Vale, the area surrounding his home—now known as "Constable Country"—which he invested with an intensity of affection...

, and J. M. W. Turner.

French painters who prepared the way for Impressionism include the Romantic
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

 colourist Eugène Delacroix
Eugène Delacroix
Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix was a French Romantic artist regarded from the outset of his career as the leader of the French Romantic school...

, the leader of the realists Gustave Courbet
Gustave Courbet
Jean Désiré Gustave Courbet was a French painter who led the Realist movement in 19th-century French painting. The Realist movement bridged the Romantic movement , with the Barbizon School and the Impressionists...

, and painters of the Barbizon school such as Théodore Rousseau
Théodore Rousseau
Pierre Étienne Théodore Rousseau , French painter of the Barbizon school, was born in Paris, of a bourgeois family.-Youth:At first he received a business training, but soon displayed aptitude for painting...

. The Impressionists learned much from the work of Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot was a French landscape painter and printmaker in etching. Corot was the leading painter of the Barbizon school of France in the mid-nineteenth century...

 and Eugène Boudin
Eugène Boudin
Eugène Boudin was one of the first French landscape painters to paint outdoors.Boudin was a marine painter, and expert in the rendering of all that goes upon the sea and along its shores...

, who painted from nature in a style that was similar to Impressionism, and who befriended and advised the younger artists.

Impressionists took advantage of the mid-century introduction of premixed paints in lead tubes (resembling modern toothpaste tubes), which allowed artists to work more spontaneously, both outdoors and indoors. Previously, painters made their own paints individually, by grinding and mixing dry pigment powders with linseed oil, which were then stored in animal bladders.

Content and composition



Prior to the Impressionists, other painters, notably such 17th-century Dutch painters
Dutch Golden Age painting
Dutch Golden Age painting is the painting of the Dutch Golden Age, a period in Dutch history generally spanning the 17th century, during and after the later part of the Eighty Years War for Dutch independence. The new Dutch Republic was the most prosperous nation in Europe, and led European trade,...

 as Jan Steen
Jan Steen
Jan Havickszoon Steen was a Dutch genre painter of the 17th century . Psychological insight, sense of humour and abundance of colour are marks of his trade.-Life:...

, had emphasized common subjects, but their methods of composition
Composition (visual arts)
In the visual arts – in particular painting, graphic design, photography and sculpture – composition is the placement or arrangement of visual elements or ingredients in a work of art or a photograph, as distinct from the subject of a work...

 were traditional. They arranged their compositions in such a way that the main subject commanded the viewer's attention. The Impressionists relaxed the boundary between subject and background so that the effect of an Impressionist painting often resembles a snapshot, a part of a larger reality captured as if by chance. Photography
Photography
Photography is the art, science and practice of creating durable images by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation, either electronically by means of an image sensor or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film...

 was gaining popularity, and as cameras became more portable, photographs became more candid. Photography inspired Impressionists to represent momentary action, not only in the fleeting lights of a landscape, but in the day-to-day lives of people.

The development of Impressionism can be considered partly as a reaction by artists to the challenge presented by photography, which seemed to devalue the artist's skill in reproducing reality. Both portrait and landscape
Landscape art
Landscape art is a term that covers the depiction of natural scenery such as mountains, valleys, trees, rivers, and forests, and especially art where the main subject is a wide view, with its elements arranged into a coherent composition. In other works landscape backgrounds for figures can still...

 paintings were deemed somewhat deficient and lacking in truth as photography "produced lifelike images much more efficiently and reliably".

In spite of this, photography actually inspired artists to pursue other means of artistic expression, and rather than competing with photography to emulate reality, artists focused "on the one thing they could inevitably do better than the photograph—by further developing into an art form its very subjectivity in the conception of the image, the very subjectivity that photography eliminated". The Impressionists sought to express their perceptions of nature, rather than create exacting representations. This allowed artists to depict subjectively what they saw with their "tacit imperatives of taste and conscience". Photography encouraged painters to exploit aspects of the painting medium, like colour, which photography then lacked; "the Impressionists were the first to consciously offer a subjective alternative to the photograph".

Another major influence was Japanese art prints (Japonism
Japonism
Japonism, or Japonisme, the original French term, was first used in 1872 by Jules Claretie in his book L'Art Francais en 1872 and by Philippe Burty in Japanisme III. La Renaissance Literaire et Artistique in the same year...

), which had come into France originally as wrapping paper for imported goods. The art of these prints contributed significantly to the "snapshot" angles and unconventional compositions which would become characteristic of the style.

Edgar Degas
Edgar Degas
Edgar Degas[p] , born Hilaire-Germain-Edgar De Gas, was a French artist famous for his work in painting, sculpture, printmaking and drawing. He is regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism although he rejected the term, and preferred to be called a realist...

 was both an avid photographer and a collector of Japanese prints. His The Dance Class (La classe de danse) of 1874 shows both influences in its asymmetrical composition. The dancers are seemingly caught off guard in various awkward poses, leaving an expanse of empty floor space in the lower right quadrant. His dancers were also captured in sculpture such as The Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer
La Petite Danseuse de Quatorze Ans
"Little Dancer of Fourteen Years" is a c. 1881 sculpture by Edgar Degas of a young dance student named Marie van Goethem. The sculpture was originally made in wax before it was cast in 1922 in bronze...

.

Main Impressionists



The central figures in the development of Impressionism in France, listed alphabetically, were:
  • Frédéric Bazille
    Frédéric Bazille
    Jean Frédéric Bazille was a French Impressionist painter. Many of Bazille's major works are examples of figure painting in which Bazille placed the subject figure within a landscape painted en plein air....

     (1841–1870)
  • Gustave Caillebotte
    Gustave Caillebotte
    Gustave Caillebotte was a French painter, member and patron of the group of artists known as Impressionists, though he painted in a much more realistic manner than many other artists in the group...

     (who, younger than the others, joined forces with them in the mid 1870s) (1848–1894)
  • Mary Cassatt
    Mary Cassatt
    Mary Stevenson Cassatt was an American painter and printmaker. She lived much of her adult life in France, where she first befriended Edgar Degas and later exhibited among the Impressionists...

     (American-born, she lived in Paris and participated in four Impressionist exhibitions) (1844–1926)
  • Paul Cézanne
    Paul Cézanne
    Paul Cézanne was a French artist and Post-Impressionist painter whose work laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th century conception of artistic endeavour to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century. Cézanne can be said to form the bridge between late 19th...

     (although he later broke away from the Impressionists) (1839–1906)
  • Edgar Degas
    Edgar Degas
    Edgar Degas[p] , born Hilaire-Germain-Edgar De Gas, was a French artist famous for his work in painting, sculpture, printmaking and drawing. He is regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism although he rejected the term, and preferred to be called a realist...

     (a realist who despised the term Impressionist, but is considered one, due to his loyalty to the group) (1834–1917)
  • Armand Guillaumin
    Armand Guillaumin
    Armand Guillaumin , was a French impressionist painter and lithographer.Born Jean-Baptiste Armand Guillaumin in Paris, he worked at his uncle's lingerie shop while attending evening drawing lessons. He also worked for a French government railway before studying at the Académie Suisse in 1861...

     (1841–1927)
  • Édouard Manet
    Édouard Manet
    Édouard Manet was a French painter. One of the first 19th-century artists to approach modern-life subjects, he was a pivotal figure in the transition from Realism to Impressionism....

     (who did not regard himself, nor is he generally considered, as an Impressionist, but who supported the Impressionists and was a great influence on them), (1832–1883)
  • Claude Monet
    Claude Monet
    Claude Monet was a founder of French impressionist painting, and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement's philosophy of expressing one's perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein-air landscape painting. . Retrieved 6 January 2007...

     (the most prolific of the Impressionists and the one who embodies their aesthetic most obviously) (1840–1926)
  • Berthe Morisot
    Berthe Morisot
    Berthe Morisot was a painter and a member of the circle of painters in Paris who became known as the Impressionists. She was described by Gustave Geffroy in 1894 as one of "les trois grandes dames" of Impressionism alongside Marie Bracquemond and Mary Cassatt.In 1864, she exhibited for the first...

     (1841–1895)
  • Camille Pissarro
    Camille Pissarro
    Camille Pissarro was a French Impressionist and Neo-Impressionist painter born on the island of St Thomas . His importance resides in his contributions to both Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, as he was the only artist to exhibit in both forms...

     (1830–1903)
  • Pierre-Auguste Renoir
    Pierre-Auguste Renoir
    Pierre-Auguste Renoir was a French artist who was a leading painter in the development of the Impressionist style. As a celebrator of beauty, and especially feminine sensuality, it has been said that "Renoir is the final representative of a tradition which runs directly from Rubens to...

     (1841–1919)
  • Alfred Sisley
    Alfred Sisley
    Alfred Sisley was an Impressionist landscape painter who was born and spent most of his life, in France, but retained British citizenship. He was the most consistent of the Impressionists in his dedication to painting landscape en plein air...

     (1839–1899)

Timeline: Lives of the Impressionists



The Impressionists


Associates and influenced artists



Among the close associates of the Impressionists were several painters who adopted their methods to some degree. These include Giuseppe De Nittis
Giuseppe De Nittis
Giuseppe De Nittis was an Italian painter whose work merges the styles of Salon art and Impressionism.De Nittis was born in Barletta, where he first studied under Giovanni Battista Calò...

, an Italian artist living in Paris who participated in the first Impressionist exhibit at the invitation of Degas, although the other Impressionists disparaged his work. Federico Zandomeneghi
Federico Zandomeneghi
Federico Zandomeneghi was an Italian Impressionist painter.Zandomeneghi, whose father and grandfather were sculptors, was born in Venice and enrolled in the Venice Academy in 1856. A supporter of Garibaldi, his political beliefs necessitated a move to Florence in 1860...

 was another Italian friend of Degas who showed with the Impressionists. Eva Gonzalès
Eva Gonzalès
Eva Gonzalès was a French Impressionist painter.Eva Gonzalès was born in Paris into the family of the writer Emmanuel Gonzalèz. In 1865, she began her professional training and took lessons in drawing from the society portraitist Charles Chaplin.Gonzalès became a pupil of the artist Édouard...

 was a follower of Manet who did not exhibit with the group. James Abbott McNeill Whistler was an American-born painter who played a part in Impressionism although he did not join the group and preferred grayed colours. Walter Sickert
Walter Sickert
Walter Richard Sickert , born in Munich, Germany, was a painter who was a member of the Camden Town Group in London. He was an important influence on distinctively British styles of avant-garde art in the 20th century....

, an English artist, was initially a follower of Whistler, and later an important disciple of Degas; he did not exhibit with the Impressionists. In 1904 the artist and writer Wynford Dewhurst
Wynford Dewhurst
Wynford Dewhurst, R.B.A. was an English Impressionist painter and important writer on art. He spent considerable time in France and his work was profoundly influenced by Claude Monet.-Biography:Wynford Dewhurst was born in Manchester in 1864...

 wrote the first important study of the French painters to be published in English, Impressionist Painting: its genesis and development, which did much to popularize Impressionism in Great Britain.

By the early 1880s, Impressionist methods were affecting, at least superficially, the art of the Salon. Fashionable painters such as Jean Beraud
Jean Béraud
Jean Béraud was a French Impressionist painter and commercial artist noted for his paintings of Parisian life during the Belle Époque.-Biography:...

 and Henri Gervex
Henri Gervex
Henri Gervex was a French painter born in Paris, and studied painting under Alexandre Cabanel, Pierre-Nicolas Brisset and Eugène Fromentin....

 found critical and financial success by brightening their palettes while retaining the smooth finish expected of Salon art. Works by these artists are sometimes casually referred to as Impressionism, despite their remoteness from Impressionist practice.

Beyond France


As the influence of Impressionism spread beyond France, artists, too numerous to list, became identified as practitioners of the new style. Some of the more important examples are:
  • The American Impressionists
    American Impressionism
    Impressionism, a style of painting characterized by loose brushwork and vivid colors, was practiced widely among American artists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.-An emerging artistic style from Paris:...

    , including Mary Cassatt
    Mary Cassatt
    Mary Stevenson Cassatt was an American painter and printmaker. She lived much of her adult life in France, where she first befriended Edgar Degas and later exhibited among the Impressionists...

    , William Merritt Chase
    William Merritt Chase
    William Merritt Chase was an American painter known as an exponent of Impressionism and as a teacher. He is also responsible for establishing the Chase School, which later would become Parsons The New School for Design.- Early life and training :He was born in Williamsburg , Indiana, to the family...

    , Frederick Carl Frieseke
    Frederick Carl Frieseke
    Frederick Carl Frieseke was an American Impressionist painter who spent most of his life as an expatriate in France. An influential member of the Giverny art colony, his paintings often concentrated on various effects of dappled sunlight...

    , Childe Hassam
    Childe Hassam
    Frederick Childe Hassam was a prolific American Impressionist painter, noted for his urban and coastal scenes. Along with Mary Cassatt and John Henry Twachtman, Hassam was instrumental in promulgating Impressionism to American collectors, dealers, and museums...

    , Willard Metcalf
    Willard Metcalf
    Willard Leroy Metcalf was an American artist born in Lowell, Massachusetts. He studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and later attended Académie Julian, Paris. After early figure-painting and illustration, he became prominent as a landscape painter...

    , Lilla Cabot Perry
    Lilla Cabot Perry
    Lilla Cabot Perry was an American artist who worked in the Impressionist style, rendering portraits and landscapes in the free form manner of her mentor, Claude Monet. Perry was an early advocate of the French Impressionist style and contributed to its reception in the United States...

    , Theodore Robinson
    Theodore Robinson
    Theodore Robinson was an American painter best known for his impressionist landscapes. He was one of the first American artists to take up impressionism in the late 1880s, visiting Giverny and developing a close friendship with Claude Monet...

    , Edmund Charles Tarbell
    Edmund C. Tarbell
    Edmund Charles Tarbell was an American Impressionist painter. He was a member of the Ten American Painters...

    , John Henry Twachtman
    John Henry Twachtman
    John Henry Twachtman was an American painter best known for his impressionist landscapes, though his painting style varied widely through his career. Art historians consider Twachtman's style of American Impressionism to be among the more personal and experimental of his generation...

    , and J. Alden Weir
    J. Alden Weir
    Julian Alden Weir was an American impressionist painter and member of the Cos Cob Art Colony near Greenwich, Connecticut...

    .
  • Anna Boch
    Anna Boch
    Anna Rosalie Boch was a Belgian painter, born in Saint-Vaast, Hainaut. Anna Boch died in Ixelles in 1936 and is interred there in the Ixelles Cemetery, Brussels, Belgium.-Artistic style:...

    , Vincent van Gogh's friend Eugène Boch
    Eugène Boch
    Eugène Boch was a Belgian painter, born in Saint-Waast, Nord, Hainaut, and the younger brother of Anna Boch, a founding member of Les XX....

    , Georges Lemmen
    Georges Lemmen
    Georges Lemmen was a Belgian neo-impressionist painter. He was a member of Les XX from 1888. His works include The Beach at Heist, Aline Marechal and Vase of Flowers...

     and Théo van Rysselberghe
    Théo van Rysselberghe
    Théo van Rysselberghe was a Belgian neo-impressionist painter, who played a pivotal role in the European art scene at the turn of the century.-Early years:...

     Impressionist painters from Belgium
    Belgium
    Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

    .
  • Walter Richard Sickert and Philip Wilson Steer
    Philip Wilson Steer
    Philip Wilson Steer OM was a British painter of landscape and occasional portraits and figure studies. He was a leading figure in the Impressionist movement in Britain.-Life and work:...

     were well known Impressionist painters from the United Kingdom
    United Kingdom
    The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

    .
  • The Australian Impressionists, including Frederick McCubbin
    Frederick McCubbin
    Frederick McCubbin was an Australian painter who was prominent in the Heidelberg School, one of the more important periods in Australia's visual arts history....

     and Tom Roberts
    Tom Roberts
    Thomas William Roberts , usually known simply as Tom, was a prominent Australian artist and a key member of the Heidelberg School.-Life:...

     who were prominent members of the Heidelberg School
    Heidelberg School
    The Heidelberg School was an Australian art movement of the late 19th century. The movement has latterly been described as Australian Impressionism....

     and John Peter Russell
    John Peter Russell
    John Peter Russell was an Australian impressionist painter.-Life and work:John Peter Russell was born at the Sydney suburb of Darlinghurst, the eldest of four children of John Russell, a Scottish engineer, his wife Charlotte Elizabeth, née Nicholl, from London. J. P. Russell was a nephew of Sir...

     a friend of Van Gogh, Rodin, Monet and Matisse as well as Rupert Bunny
    Rupert Bunny
    Rupert Charles Wulsten Bunny was an Australian painter, born in St Kilda, Victoria. He achieved success and critical acclaim as an expatriate in fin-de-siècle Paris....

    , Agnes Goodsir
    Agnes Goodsir
    Agnes Noyes Goodsir was an Australian portrait painter who moved within lesbian circles in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s....

     and Hugh Ramsay
    Hugh Ramsay
    Hugh Ramsay , was an Australian artist.Ramsay was born in Glasgow, Scotland, son of John Ramsay. He moved with his family to Melbourne in 1878. He was educated at Essendon Grammar School, and joined classes at the National Gallery of Victoria at age 16 under Lindsay Bernard Hall and became one of...

    .
  • Lovis Corinth
    Lovis Corinth
    Lovis Corinth was a German painter and printmaker whose mature work realized a synthesis of impressionism and expressionism....

    , Max Liebermann
    Max Liebermann
    Max Liebermann was a German-Jewish painter and printmaker best known for his etching and lithography.-Biography:...

    , and Max Slevogt
    Max Slevogt
    Max Slevogt was a German Impressionist painter and illustrator, best known for his landscapes. He was, together with Lovis Corinth and Max Liebermann, one of the foremost representatives in Germany of the plein air style.-Biography:He was born in Landshut, Germany...

     in Germany
  • László Mednyánszky
    László Mednyánszky
    Baron László Mednyánszky or Ladislaus Josephus Balthasar Eustachius Mednyánszky Mednyánszky, the painter-philosopher, is one of the most enigmatic figures in the history of Hungarian art. Despite an aristocratic background, he spent most of his life moving around Europe working as an artist...

     in Hungary
  • Roderic O'Conor
    Roderic O'Conor
    Roderic O'Conor was an Irish painter.Born in Milltown, Castleplunket, Co. Roscommon, Ireland, O'Conor studied at Ampleforth College, then at Dublin and Antwerp before moving to Paris where he was deeply influenced by the Impressionists.O'Conor attended the Metropolitan School and Royal Hibernian...

    , and Walter Osborne
    Walter Osborne
    Walter Frederick Osborne was an Irish impressionist landscape and portrait painter. Most of his paintings featured women, children, and the elderly as well as rural scenes.-Career:...

     in Ireland
  • Konstantin Korovin
    Konstantin Korovin
    Konstantin Alekseyevich Korovin was a leading Russian Impressionist painter.-Biography:Konstantin was born in Moscow to a merchant family officially registered as "peasants of Vladimir Gubernia". His father, Aleksey Mikhailovich Korovin, earned a university degree and was more interested in arts...

     and Valentin Serov
    Valentin Serov
    Valentin Alexandrovich Serov was a Russian painter, and one of the premier portrait artists of his era.-Youth and education:...

     in Russia
  • Francisco Oller y Cestero
    Francisco Oller
    Francisco Manuel Oller y Cestero was a Puerto Rican visual artist. Oller is considered to be the only Latin American painter to have played a role in the development of Impressionism.-Early years:...

    , a native of Puerto Rico
    Puerto Rico
    Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

     and a friend of Pissarro and Cézanne
  • William McTaggart
    William McTaggart
    William McTaggart was a Scottish landscape painter who was influenced by Impressionism.-Life and work:...

     in Scotland
    Scotland
    Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

    .
  • Laura Muntz Lyall
    Laura Muntz Lyall
    Laura Muntz Lyall, June 18, 1860 – December 9, 1930, was a Canadian impressionist painter. Born Laura Adeline Muntz in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, England, her family emigrated to Canada when she was a child to farm in the Muskoka District of Ontario.As a young woman, Muntz studied to...

    , a Canadian
    Canada
    Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

     artist
  • Władysław Podkowiński, a Polish
    Poland
    Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

     Impressionist and symbolist
    Symbolism (arts)
    Symbolism was a late nineteenth-century art movement of French, Russian and Belgian origin in poetry and other arts. In literature, the style had its beginnings with the publication Les Fleurs du mal by Charles Baudelaire...

  • Nazmi Ziya Güran
    Nazmi Ziya Güran
    Nazmi Ziya Güran was a Turkish impressionist painter.-Biography:He was born in the Horhor neighborhood of Istanbul, Ottoman Empire. He graduated in 1901 from the School of Political Science, where he had enrolled due to his father's opposition to his ambition to be an artist...

    , who brought Impressionism to Turkey
    Turkey
    Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

  • Chafik Charobim
    Chafik Charobim
    Chafik Charobim , is a well known impressionist and naturalist Egyptian artist who painted the "Peaceful and Tranquil Egypt of the last Century". He loved nature in any form and his paintings show a great love for the sea, the desert and the people of Egypt. He has left a legacy of over 186...

     in Egypt
    Egypt
    Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

  • Eliseu Visconti in Brazil
    Brazil
    Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

  • Mārtiņš Krūmiņš
    Martins Krumins
    Mārtiņš Krūmiņš was a Latvian-American Impressionist painter. He left Latvia after World War II and came to the United States in 1950. As Janis Siliņš wrote in a book about Mārtiņš Krūmiņš "Mārtiņš Krūmiņš .....

     in Latvia, Germany and the United States.
  • Joaquín Sorolla in Spain
  • Fernando Fader
    Fernando Fader
    Fernando Fader was a French-born Argentine painter of the Post-impressionist school.-Life and work:Fernando Fader was born in Bordeaux, France in 1882. His father, of Prussian descent, relocated the family to Argentina in 1884, settling in the western city of Mendoza before returning to France a...

    , Martín Malharro
    Martín Malharro
    Martín Malharro was an Argentine painter of the Post-impressionist school.-Life and work: Martín Malharro was born in the central Buenos Aires Province city of Azul in 1865. His childhood interest in painting led to domestic violence at home, from which he left for Buenos Aires in 1879...

    , Ramón Silva
    Ramón Silva
    Ramón Silva was an Argentine painter of the Post-impressionist school.-Life and work:Ramón Silva was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1890...

     in Argentina
  • Skagen Painters
    Skagen Painters
    The Skagen Painters were a group of Scandinavian artists who gathered in the area of Skagen, the northernmost part of Denmark, from the late 1870s until the turn of the century...

     a group of Scandinavian artists who painted in a small Danish fishing village

Sculpture, photography and film


The sculptor Auguste Rodin
Auguste Rodin
François-Auguste-René Rodin , known as Auguste Rodin , was a French sculptor. Although Rodin is generally considered the progenitor of modern sculpture, he did not set out to rebel against the past...

 is sometimes called an Impressionist for the way he used roughly modeled surfaces to suggest transient light effects.

Pictorialist
Pictorialism
‎Pictorialism is the name given to a photographic movement in vogue from around 1885 following the widespread introduction of the dry-plate process. It reached its height in the early years of the 20th century, and declined rapidly after 1914 after the widespread emergence of Modernism...

 photographers whose work is characterized by soft focus and atmospheric effects have also been called Impressionists.

French Impressionist Cinema
French Impressionist Cinema
French Impressionist Cinema, also referred to as the first avant-garde or narrative avant-garde, is a term applied to a group of French films and filmmakers of the 1920s....

 is a term applied to a loosely defined group of films and filmmakers in France from 1919–1929, although these years are debatable. French Impressionist filmmakers include Abel Gance
Abel Gance
Abel Gance was a French film director and producer, writer and actor. He is best known for three major silent films: J'accuse , La Roue , and the monumental Napoléon .-Early life:...

, Jean Epstein
Jean Epstein
Jean Epstein was a French filmmaker, film theorist, literary critic, and novelist. Although he is remembered today primarily for his adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher, Epstein directed three dozen films and was an influential critic of literature and film from the...

, Germaine Dulac
Germaine Dulac
Germaine Dulac was a French filmmaker, film theorist, journalist and critic. She was born in Amiens and moved to Paris in early childhood. A few years after her marriage she embarked on a journalistic career in a feminist magazine, and later became interested in film...

, Marcel L’Herbier, Louis Delluc
Louis Delluc
Louis Delluc was a French film director, screen writer and film critic, many of whose late 1910s film writings for French newspapers were collected in the volume Cinema et cie...

, and Dmitry Kirsanoff.

Music and literature




Musical Impressionism is the name given to a movement in European classical music that arose in the late 19th century and continued into the middle of the 20th century. Originating in France, musical Impressionism is characterized by suggestion and atmosphere, and eschews the emotional excesses of the Romantic era
Romantic music
Romantic music or music in the Romantic Period is a musicological and artistic term referring to a particular period, theory, compositional practice, and canon in Western music history, from 1810 to 1900....

. Impressionist composers favoured short forms such as the nocturne
Nocturne
A nocturne is usually a musical composition that is inspired by, or evocative of, the night...

, arabesque, and prelude
Prelude (music)
A prelude is a short piece of music, the form of which may vary from piece to piece. The prelude can be thought of as a preface. It may stand on its own or introduce another work...

, and often explored uncommon scales such as the whole tone scale
Whole tone scale
In music, a whole tone scale is a scale in which each note is separated from its neighbors by the interval of a whole step. There are only two complementary whole tone scales, both six-note or hexatonic scales:...

. Perhaps the most notable innovations used by Impressionist composers were the first uses of major 7th chords and the extension of chord structures in 3rds to five and six part harmonies.

The influence of visual Impressionism on its musical counterpart is debatable. Claude Debussy
Claude Debussy
Claude-Achille Debussy was a French composer. Along with Maurice Ravel, he was one of the most prominent figures working within the field of impressionist music, though he himself intensely disliked the term when applied to his compositions...

 and Maurice Ravel
Maurice Ravel
Joseph-Maurice Ravel was a French composer known especially for his melodies, orchestral and instrumental textures and effects...

 are generally considered the greatest Impressionist composers, but Debussy disavowed the term, calling it the invention of critics. Erik Satie
Erik Satie
Éric Alfred Leslie Satie was a French composer and pianist. Satie was a colourful figure in the early 20th century Parisian avant-garde...

 was also considered to be in this category although his approach was considered to be less serious, more of musical novelty in nature. Paul Dukas
Paul Dukas
Paul Abraham Dukas was a French composer, critic, scholar and teacher. A studious man, of retiring personality, he was intensely self-critical, and he abandoned and destroyed many of his compositions...

 is another French composer sometimes considered to be an Impressionist but his style is perhaps more closely aligned to the late Romanticists. Musical Impressionism beyond France includes the work of such composers as Ralph Vaughan Williams
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Ralph Vaughan Williams OM was an English composer of symphonies, chamber music, opera, choral music, and film scores. He was also a collector of English folk music and song: this activity both influenced his editorial approach to the English Hymnal, beginning in 1904, in which he included many...

, Ottorino Respighi
Ottorino Respighi
Ottorino Respighi was an Italian composer, musicologist and conductor. He is best known for his orchestral "Roman trilogy": Fountains of Rome ; Pines of Rome ; and Roman Festivals...

 (Italy) and Cyril Scott
Cyril Scott
Cyril Meir Scott was an English composer, writer, and poet.-Biography:Scott was born in Oxton, England to a shipper and scholar of Greek and Hebrew, and Mary Scott , an amateur pianist. He showed a talent for music from an early age and was sent to the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt, Germany to...

 and John Ireland
John Ireland (composer)
John Nicholson Ireland was an English composer.- Life :John Ireland was born in Bowdon, near Altrincham, Manchester, into a family of Scottish descent and some cultural distinction. His father, Alexander Ireland, a publisher and newspaper proprietor, was aged 70 at John's birth...

 (England).

The term Impressionism has also been used to describe works of literature in which a few select details suffice to convey the sensory impressions of an incident or scene. Impressionist literature is closely related to Symbolism
Symbolism (arts)
Symbolism was a late nineteenth-century art movement of French, Russian and Belgian origin in poetry and other arts. In literature, the style had its beginnings with the publication Les Fleurs du mal by Charles Baudelaire...

, with its major exemplars being Baudelaire
Charles Baudelaire
Charles Baudelaire was a French poet who produced notable work as an essayist, art critic, and pioneering translator of Edgar Allan Poe. His most famous work, Les Fleurs du mal expresses the changing nature of beauty in modern, industrializing Paris during the nineteenth century...

, Mallarmé
Stéphane Mallarmé
Stéphane Mallarmé , whose real name was Étienne Mallarmé, was a French poet and critic. He was a major French symbolist poet, and his work anticipated and inspired several revolutionary artistic schools of the early 20th century, such as Dadaism, Surrealism, and Futurism.-Biography:Stéphane...

, Rimbaud
Arthur Rimbaud
Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud was a French poet. Born in Charleville, Ardennes, he produced his best known works while still in his late teens—Victor Hugo described him at the time as "an infant Shakespeare"—and he gave up creative writing altogether before the age of 21. As part of the decadent...

, and Verlaine
Paul Verlaine
Paul-Marie Verlaine was a French poet associated with the Symbolist movement. He is considered one of the greatest representatives of the fin de siècle in international and French poetry.-Early life:...

. Authors such as Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf
Adeline Virginia Woolf was an English author, essayist, publisher, and writer of short stories, regarded as one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the twentieth century....

 and Joseph Conrad
Joseph Conrad
Joseph Conrad was a Polish-born English novelist.Conrad is regarded as one of the great novelists in English, although he did not speak the language fluently until he was in his twenties...

 have written works which are Impressionistic in the way that they describe, rather than interpret, the impressions, sensations and emotions that constitute a character's mental life.

Post-Impressionism




Post-Impressionism developed from Impressionism. From the 1880s several artists began to develop different precepts for the use of colour, pattern, form, and line, derived from the Impressionist example: Vincent van Gogh
Vincent van Gogh
Vincent Willem van Gogh , and used Brabant dialect in his writing; it is therefore likely that he himself pronounced his name with a Brabant accent: , with a voiced V and palatalized G and gh. In France, where much of his work was produced, it is...

, Paul Gauguin
Paul Gauguin
Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin was a leading French Post-Impressionist artist. He was an important figure in the Symbolist movement as a painter, sculptor, print-maker, ceramist, and writer...

, Georges Seurat
Georges-Pierre Seurat
Georges-Pierre Seurat was a French Post-Impressionist painter and draftsman. He is noted for his innovative use of drawing media and for devising a technique of painting known as pointillism...

, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa or simply Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was a French painter, printmaker, draughtsman, and illustrator, whose immersion in the colourful and theatrical life of fin de siècle Paris yielded an œuvre of exciting, elegant and provocative images of the modern...

. These artists were slightly younger than the Impressionists, and their work is known as post-Impressionism. Some of the original Impressionist artists also ventured into this new territory; Camille Pissarro
Camille Pissarro
Camille Pissarro was a French Impressionist and Neo-Impressionist painter born on the island of St Thomas . His importance resides in his contributions to both Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, as he was the only artist to exhibit in both forms...

 briefly painted in a pointillist
Pointillism
Pointillism is a technique of painting in which small, distinct dots of pure color are applied in patterns to form an image. Georges Seurat developed the technique in 1886, branching from Impressionism. The term Pointillism was first coined by art critics in the late 1880s to ridicule the works...

 manner, and even Monet abandoned strict plein air painting. Paul Cézanne
Paul Cézanne
Paul Cézanne was a French artist and Post-Impressionist painter whose work laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th century conception of artistic endeavour to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century. Cézanne can be said to form the bridge between late 19th...

, who participated in the first and third Impressionist exhibitions, developed a highly individual vision emphasising pictorial structure, and he is more often called a post-Impressionist. Although these cases illustrate the difficulty of assigning labels, the work of the original Impressionist painters may, by definition, be categorised as Impressionism.

See also

  • Art periods
    Art periods
    Art period n. A phase in the development of the work of an artist, groups of artists or art movement.-Renaissance:Renaissance c. 1300 - c. 1602...

  • Expressionism
    Expressionism
    Expressionism was a modernist movement, initially in poetry and painting, originating in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. Its typical trait is to present the world solely from a subjective perspective, distorting it radically for emotional effect in order to evoke moods or ideas...

     (as a reaction to Impressionism)
  • Les XX
    Les XX
    Les XX was a group of twenty Belgian painters, designers and sculptors, formed in 1883 by the Brussels lawyer, publisher, and entrepreneur Octave Maus. For ten years 'Les Vingt' , as they called themselves, held an annual exhibition of their art; each year twenty international artists were also...

  • Pictorialism
    Pictorialism
    ‎Pictorialism is the name given to a photographic movement in vogue from around 1885 following the widespread introduction of the dry-plate process. It reached its height in the early years of the 20th century, and declined rapidly after 1914 after the widespread emergence of Modernism...


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