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Impressionism Essay

2585 words - 11 pages

In 1874, fifty-five artists held the first independent group show of Impressionist art. The unfriendly reviewer Louis Leroy to a canvas by Claude Monet first applied the name impressionism in 1874; it has come to be used very freely. In easiest terms, French Impressionism was an especially undersized, avant-garde movement whose affiliates tested from 1870 to 1880 with painterly habits to attain light on canvas. Impressionism entails a certain technique, primarily the acquirement of light on canvas through the use of pure, lurid, bright colours, and such stylistic and compositional elements as a shallow, two-dimensional space, occupied by compressed forms, an uptilted picture plane resulting ...view middle of the document...

The Post Impressionists still continued to have a similar style to the Impressionists but with fewer limitations. There was a continuation of the use of vivid colours, and the bold dollops of unmixed paint were still used. The subject matter also remained quite similar with real-life, ordinary subjects being chosen, emotion and expression was however one thing that was different from the Impressionist painting in their work. They went beyond just painting something normal, they were able to put mood and emotion into their works. Post Impressionism took painting to new levels, Impressionism had previously made the break from all the rules of painting and now Post Impressionism was able to go beyond that, as mentioned before many of the Post Impressionists led to other art movements. Cezanne’s structural work eventually led to cubism and Van Gogh’s symbolic, expressive paintings led to expressionism.

Summarising the transition in styles from Impressionism and Post Impressionism there is an obvious link in some of the main foundations of style and subject within the similar movements. Post Impressionism appears to most significantly work on an emotional level.

Plein Air is a French term meaning in the open air. In art history it refers to a perception that a painting conveys, the sensations of being in the open air. This eminence was much sought after by the Impressionists, and before them the Barbizon School of landscape artists who painted in the Forest Fontainebleau into the 1840s. Possibly further more than any other, Claude Monet was the archetypal plein air painter. He was possessed with encapsulating the effects of light on the landscape in an almost scientific way, also in seizing the atmospheric “envelope” of the landscape.

The Impressionists preferred landscape, some incorporated structural design followed by figure studies and still lifes. Human figures, when dealt with, most often came from high society and were mainly portrayed in leisure, urban activities. Artists neglected classical studio themes to go outside and paint the landscape that surrounded them. On the other hand, some Impressionists, painted the rural poor just as they saw them, with a rough-textured technique that displeased establishment. So in subject matter is somewhat juxtaposed.

In its exercise of colour, Impressionism radically deviated from tradition. Progress in the areas of optics and colour theory enthralled these painters. Working outdoors, Impressionists provided the play of sunshine and the tones of the environment with a palette of bolder yet lighter colours than classical studio painters used.
In 1666, Sir Isaac Newton had shown that white light could be split into many colours. Including the three primary colours, red, blue, and yellow - by a prism. The Impressionists learned how to form the prismatic colours with a palette of unadulterated, concentrated pigments and white. Not like Academy painters, who sheltered their canvases with...

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