Original Impressionism Paintings

The first use of the term "Impressionism" dates back to the First Impressionist Exhibition in 1874, in which Claude Monet (1840-1926), one of the movement's founders, exhibited a painting entitled Impression: Sunrise. Impressionists often paint outdoors and on site (en plein air) instead of in a studio. Artists were mostly unable to paint outdoors until the second half of the 19th century, with the advent of metal tubes for packaging and storing paint. The previous method: pig bladders. The impressionist attempts to capture the overall feeling (an "impression") of the scene, rather than faithfully reproducing it in all its detail. The early Impressionists were ridiculed by the art establishment for attempting to pass-off blotchy sketches as finished paintings. While nature is the key element, impressionist paintings often include evidence of the influence of man in the form of bridges, cityscapes, and even factories in the distance. Typical of many impressionist paintings is a horizontal composition divided into three planes: foreground, middle ground, and background, the foreground forms and figures being rendered in the greatest detail. Parks and gardens are also common in impressionist paintings, representing an escape from the city to the beauty of nature and leisure of the outdoors.


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GETTING TO UNDERSTAND IMPRESSIONISM

The evolution of these types of paintings was due largely to a shift in the way that they were being created. The Impressionist movement was brought about by an attempt to forever capture a singular moment in time: the accurate depiction, or “impression”, of the way that light alters the perception of a subject. This was achieved by applying paint in small, thin brush strokes and using a vivid, intense color palette. Impressionist paintings were largely undetailed but strikingly bold in their use of color.

Often, Impressionist painters created their work outdoors, either at sunrise, sunset, or another moment of the day when the light was vivid, which inspired the colors that the artist chose to use on the canvas. The use of uncommon angles and the attempt to capture moving subjects, such as in Impression, soleil levant by Claude Monet, which depicts boats moving slowly across a harbor, were also important facets of the Impressionist movement. The objective of Impressionist art was to capture the artist’s unique perception of the subject matter, at the exact fleeting moment that they first saw it. Some of the most famous Impressionist artists include: Edouard Manet, Camille Pissarro, Edgar Degas, Alfred Sisley, Claude Monet, Berthe Morisot, and Pierre Auguste Renoir.