An artistic movement that emerged in France between 1860 and 1865, impressionism became one of the most important and influential artistic styles of the modern age. Following the works of Joseph Turner, the English watercolorists, the painters of the barbizon school, and camille corot and gustave courbet, a group of painters from the swiss Academy, who wanted to shed the constraints of the conventional studio and of the Salon—the only means at the time for official recognition—decided to paint in a more spontaneous style, conveying their impressions of nature. Taking their inspiration and example from édouard manet, whose painting Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe shocked many when it was shown at the Salon des Refusés in 1863, claude monet, camille pissarro, and Alfred sisley went against the official norm and, with about 20 other painters, including auguste renoir, paul cézanne, edgar degas, and berte morisot, formed the Anonymous society of Painters, which exhibited 165 canvases in 1874 at the former Nadar studio in Paris. The works provoked public scorn and were considered botched and incomplete. The art critic of the revue le charivari, Louis Leroy, inspired by Monet's Impression, soleil levant (1872), labeled the new style "impressionist." Despite their diversity, these artists had in common essentially their observation of nature (water, clouds, flowers) in its true state, changing according to the light, as well as objects with all their nuances, especially as observed and reconstructed by the viewer's eye. Manet, Monet, and Degas were also inspired by Japanese art in particular. in a sense, the impressionists had taken up the challenge of the art critic and poet charles baudelaire, who had called for a "painter of modern life." What set the impressionists apart from their contemporaries was not so much the subject matter of their works but their techniques. The impressionists were willing to replace the artifices of conventional painting— linear perspective and so forth—with the artist's subjective vision and a sense of autonomy in his work. This is especially true of Cézanne and, from him, nearly all the art of the 20th century. Later, the chemist eugène chevreul and the painter georges seurat systematized the optic principles revealed through the intuitive impressionist techniques. Monet applied his ideas of light to paintings of buildings (La Gare Saint-Lazare, 1877; La Cathédral de Rouen, 1892-1904), painting them in a series according to the changes in light upon them. Despite their poor initial reception and the dispersal of their group, a few impressionists were recognized and appreciated toward the end of their lives. For example, Monet, who left Nympheas to the state in 1922, saw his works receive a place of acclaim and prestige with their official permanent installation in the orangerie des Tuileries in 1927.

France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present . 1884.

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  • Impressionism — was a 19th century art movement that began as a loose association of Paris based artists exhibiting their art publicly in the 1860s. The name of the movement is derived from the title of a Claude Monet work, Impression, Sunrise (Impression,… …   Wikipedia

  • Impressionism —    Impressionism was an artistic movement that developed among French painters between 1870 and 1885. Leading practitioners include Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and Pierre Auguste Renoir. The new movement consciously rejected the rigid rules of the …   Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914

  • Impressionism — Im*pres sion*ism, n. [F. impressionnisme.] (Fine Arts) The theory or method of suggesting an effect or impression without elaboration of the details; a disignation of a recent fashion in painting and etching. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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