Impressionism formed 1870-90
In 1874, Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Degas and Cezanne’, were some of the artists rejected by the saloon and decided to create their own exhibition. The name “Impressionism” was taken from Claude Monet’s “Sunrise”. The Impressionists held eight exhibitions between 1874 and 1886. By the end of this they were recognised and respected.
In an attempt to depict visual reality, the Impressionists were preoccupied with the effects of light and its reflections. Monet and Pissarro were the main Impressionists to hold this view.
Impressionists were not interested in conveying messages and had no moral meanings within their art; they were only interested in painting what they actually saw and “visual truth”. Through the use of scientific studies the Impressionist tried to capture the fleeting and transient effects of light and atmospheres. The Impressionists were one of the first painters using the “Plein Air” practice to produce actual finished paintings outdoors. (Plein Air is just painting in open air)
Because of their attempt to capture the fleeting and changing effects of light, the impressionists employed a dabbing technique whereby the canvas would be covered in “particles”, “points” and “blobs”.
To a certain degree, the Impressionists modernised previous attempts to represent the visual world as they saw it. Their practise was seen as rebellious as they were prepared to experiment new ideas and concepts and to express themselves freely in a way which went against the norms of traditions and the practices of their predecessors.
Their technique can be seen through the use of small dabs of paint (colour), which creates a rough layer of texture. This form of texture was more complex than any other style of painting at the time.
As well as the achievements, the Impressionists had limitations which would ultimately cause painters who followed them to give up Impressionism. Because their paintings had no moral meanings or messages, they were accused of being “eyes not minds”. Also, the fact that their rapid technique, broken colour and subtle outlines made the canvas (maybe) formless, critics described their work as “insipid” and lacking taste.
Following scientific studies, their concern that colours could mix to create different colours with more ”vibration and sparkle” forced them to limit their palette to spectrum colours. Colour was the only element the Impressionists chose. They transformed colour into light and light into pure colour. Objects were not painted by line or contours, but by colour which forms disparate sections.
This is a quick description of Impressionism, which I typed from my notes, so you will have to excuse the lack of coherent form of writing.
Please dont forget the actual colour on these pictures differ from the real thing.
Some Monet stuff: