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IWT1 Task 1
000251565 Polly A. Welch

Impressionism and Post Impressionism

In Paris in the late 19th century (1874-1882), several artists who called themselves the Anonymous Society of Painters, Sculptors, Printmakers, etc. organized an exhibit that launched the movement called Impressionism. These artists, such as Eduoard Manet, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Pierre Auguste Renoir, and Mary Cassatt, sparked worldwide following and revolutionized Western conceptions of painting. Appearing to other artists to be a group, these independent painters with quite diverse artistic approaches, were only unified in their rejection by the official annual Salon (the Académie des Beaux-Arts which is a French academic organization that judges and awards selected artworks). Criticized for the unfinished, sketch like appearance of their work, more progressive critics praised them for their depiction of modern life. Their subjects were commonplace including landscapes, leisure and recreation in open air or “en plein air” settings, using quick and spontaneous brushstrokes to depict the fluctuation of light. Their subjects were captured by observation rather than idealization and they sought to capture typical moments in life with no moral message, rather than poses or dramatic scenes. They put special emphasis on and paid attention to the effects of light, atmosphere and movement using bold treatments in form of color and space. Japanese wood block prints influenced many of the Impressionists, as did photography. They added interesting perspectives such as from above, tilted or cropped. They also developed a new practice called “optical mixing” where they placed the colors side by side on the canvas allowing them to blended by the eye far afar. Today the works of Impressionists are recognized for their modern embodiment in rejection of established styles, the incorporation of new technology and ideas, and depiction of every day modern life.

The Siege of Paris...
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