The History of Art And The Curious Lives of Famous Painters

100 Greatest Painters  Artists Alphabetically  Artists by Country  Artists by Century   Artists by Movement

The style depicts the fleeting image of an object as someone might see it if they just caught a quick look at it.

The Impressionist style of painting developed in the late 1870s in France. The artists sought to represent objects in their atmospheric veil, enveloped with light and air; it was not to paint local colors, but the effects of light under which everything momentarily changes color. They were an intellectual and social group of painters whose members sought to bring about a radical power shift in the world of art.

The name Impressionism comes from Claude Monet's painting Impression Sunrise (Impression, soleil levant), which was part of an exhibition that included 30  young artists held in the studio of a famous photographer known as Nadar. The year was 1874 and this was the earliest Impressionist exhibit. None of the paintings sold and very few people attended the exhibit.  A critic, Jules-Antoine Castagnary,  used the word "impressionism" to ridicule  all the paintings in the show, but the artists later embraced the word to describe their technique.  It is revealing that the Impressionists preferred to be known as the "Independents, and reviled the term "Impressionist". A review of the first impressionist Exhibit:  According to Mr. Castagnary "The common view that brings these artists together in a group and makes of them a collective force within our disintegrating age is their determination not to aim for perfection, but to be satisfied with a certain general aspect. Once the impression is captured, they declare their role finished. The term Japanese, which was given them first, made no sense. If one wishes to characterize and explain them with a single word, then one would have to coin the word impressionists. They are impressionists in that they do not render a landscape, but the sensation produced by the landscape. The word itself has passed into their language: in the catalogue the Sunrise by Monet is called not landscape, but impression. Thus they take leave of reality and enter the realms of idealism." Jules Castagnary, Le Siecle, April 29 1874

Principle Artists of the Impressionist Movement

Paul Cézanne
Auguste Renoir
Claude Monet
Alfred Sisley
Frederic Bazille
Gustave Caillebotte
Edgar Degas
Mary Cassatt
Armand Guillaumin 
Berthe Morisot

Popular Questions About  Art History

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References - The Florentine Painters of the Renaissance  by Bernhard Berenson