We’ve heard the term, maybe seen a couple of paintings here and there, but never really thought about the art from, right?
We get it, reading the details about art is boring. One would rather just enjoy looking at an art work.
But what if we told you that we’d make the reading interesting too?
Come, take a short journey into the world of Impressionism! By the end of this article, you shall be convinced that reading about art forms is not as bad as it sounds!
Why don’t you try identifying the characteristics of the art movement? We’ll get into the details in a bit!
Chiefly developed in France, Impressionism was a major art movement that was focused on direct sensation.
What does that really mean?
Well, the artists during the time decided to paint what they felt and thought. It wasn’t about perfection as much as it was about the portraying of their impression of the landscape, person, or thing in that moment.
Artists in the late 19th century did not want to paint great men of the time, mythology, or the history. Their ideas were simple, approachable and doable. It recorded the transient effects of light and color. Looser and lighter brushwork for paintings became the norm.
The word says Impressionism conveys what the art form is all about.
Let’s see if you can recognize what makes the following painting a part of the Impressionist Art Movement!
The Humble Beginning
Impressionism’s root lies in Naturalism and Realism. These were already challenging the norms of the time. Realism was bringing the current truth to life and Naturalism was about portraying the life in its natural form without letting the in the context of mythological heroism or history in its way.
It must have becoming clearer as to how Impressionism came into existence.
In the early 1860s, the pioneers of the art form met while studying under an academic artist, Charles Gleyre. Their shared interest in painting contemporary life and landscape led them to become friends.
Now who were these pioneers, you ask?
Artists Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, and Frédéric Bazille became popular by mid-century for their paintings made in sunlight inspired directly from nature. They would create paintings that were brighter and lighter.
After a much-expected turmoil, it was in 1874 that the first exhibition was held with 30 participants displaying their paintings. And even still, there a mixed response with a considerable backlash. S
Luckily, it was during this time that the Impressionism started to catch on and artists started coming together.
The Art and Artists of the Impressionism Art Movement
Impression, Sunrise (1872) (Claude Monet)
In a lot of ways, Impression, Sunrise can be considered the art work that gave Impressionism its well-deserved space in this world. That said, the credit can also be given to Louis Leroy’s belittling comments on the painting and its title that pushed the term “Impressionism” into public view. He wrote a satirical review about the art works presented at the First Impressionist Exhibition of 1874.
The color palette of Impression, Sunrise presents a continuity between the land, sea, and the sky. They’re all bathed in the colors of sunrise, gentle oranges, blues, and greens. What you can gather from the art work is warmth of the colors used and the sunlight. It becomes seemingly clear that the impression of the view has been painted, instead of focusing on the city or the boats and the fishermen.
Monet was born in Paris to a middle-class family of merchants. The family was hardworking and well-off, but by no means were they aristocrats. Claude Monet struggled financially in his life as a painter. At a very young age, the family moved from Paris to Le Havre, where he created most of his art works.
Luncheon of the Boating Party (1881) (Pierre-Auguste Renoir)
Considering it is one of Pierre’s most famous works, we couldn’t miss out on talking about this one! Set in a famous café in Paris, the Maison Fournaise of Chatou, that overlooks the Seine, the painting beautifully captures a wonderful time spent with friends.
If you look closely, you can see the defined borders and detailed attention to the subjects and their contouring. This gave the painting an almost 3D effect. The painting captures light and the elements are made to reflect the light in a beautiful way.
Don’t you think?
Pierre was born in Limoges, Haute-Vienne, France, in 1841 to a father who was a tailor. The family moved to Paris in 1844. His talent in singing and painting led him to taking classes, despite the family’s financial condition. After all the hardships he had to face to make sure he pursued his talents, he finally was able to get training under Charles Gleyre in 1862. After that, recognition started coming in with the number of exhibitions the pioneers began organizing.
The Luncheon on the Grass (1862 and 1863) (Édouard Manet)
Originally titled Le Bain (The Bath), the oil on canvas painting shows a nude and a scantily dressed female on a picnic with two men dressed appropriately for the times. The painting is set in a rural setting, with the body of the woman starkly lit, staring directly at the viewer of the painting.
The background of the painting lacks depth giving off the impression that the scene is captured in a studio. This kind of painting broke the norms of the time, not hiding brush strokes, and leaving the painting to seem a bit unfinished.
Manet was born in an upper-class family with a strong hold in politics and the connection that come with it. He rejected the talks by family and threw himself in the world of paintings. He became inspired by the Dutch painter Frans Hals, and the Spanish artists Diego Velázquez and Francisco José de Goya. He opened a studio in 1856. His artworks consisted of loose brush strokes, simple details and transitional tones being suppressed. He painted a lot of contemporary art works, rarely painting mythology and religion.
Would you like to know more about Impressionism?
We’ll be back with some more interesting information!