Art Movements

Exploring the art of Impressionism

Thursday: Exploring Different Types of Art

Today we are going to briefly discuss Impressionism.

What is Impressionism? An art movement in France at the end of the 19th century. The Impressionists are a group of artists known for their innovative painting techniques and use of color.


Who were the key players? Although many artists were involved in the Impressionism movement and the first exhibition in 1874; the chief artists involved include Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Berthe Morisot, and Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec with the main figures of this movement.

Berthe Morisot focused on the female figure and the private lives of nineteenth century women. She was the first woman to be included in an Impressionist exhibit.

In a Park by Berthe Morisot in 1874 (pastels)

Other prominent women included: Mary Cassatt, Eva Gonzales, and Marie Bracquemond.

impressionism_7
At the Opera by Mary Cassatt in 1880

Use of color by Impressionists: Instead of incorporating brown and black to create shadows but rather enriched their colors to create a sense of light and shadows on their subjects. They were fascinated by capturing different times of day and varying weather conditions in their paintings. They used broad bright strokes of color (pure and intense) and often sacrificed much of the detail and outline of their subjects.

The Bridge at Villeneuve-la-Garenne by Alfred Sisley in (1872

Composition and Arrangements: Photography was in the beginning of its development; photographers would often crop their photos to improve their composition. Many of these artists would try to incorporate similar techniques by not centering their focal point but rather playing with asymmetrical effects of cropping.

toulouse_lautrec_henri_6
At the Moulin Rouge: The Dance by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in 1890

Other ideas:

  • They were the first group to embrace painting “en-plein air” or painting outside.
  • Use of color to capture the effects of light in nature.
  • Most Impressionist work is landscapes but there are some figure, still life, and portraits.
  • Urban theme: As Paris went through a renovation in the mid-nineteenth century; some of the artists tried to capture scenes of public leisure including scenes of cafes.
  • Influenced by Japanese woodcuts.
  • Tried to capture a split second in life (a moment in time on the canvas).
  • ‘Paintings of the real’ by concentrating on the world as they saw it (imperfect).

Sources:

Art Movement Impressionism

Movement Impressionism

Impressionism

Sisley Alfred

Edgar Degas

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