French Impressionism and Post Impressionism in the late 19th C.

Topics: Impressionism, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet Pages: 11 (2901 words) Published: October 2, 2014
French Impressionism and Post Impressionism in the late 19th C.

©Werner Hammerstingl,1998,1999

Before the emergence of Impressionism we can see a major political and social transition in central Europe which has demonstrable artistic and literary consequences.

The major aspects of this change include:

The 19C industrial expansion which took away opportunities of individual farming and craft practice and replaced them with paid labour in factories. Governments across Europe are exploring constitutional formulas that attempt to balance the polarities of social right and material progress. Religious institutions are trying to absorb new scientific knowledge and social theory against the fabric of ancient scriptures. In France specifically we see the emergence of political instability with various Governments and various forms of government rising and succeeding another between the absolute monarchy that ends with Louis the XVI in 1789 and Napoleons expansionist empire building which begins in 1851with a coup d'état and comes to a close in 1870. Amongst these turbulant years we see political outcomes that range from "reign of terror", constitutional monarchy, a republic, a royal resoration and a socialist commune as well as the Napoleonic empire. During this turbulent social and political era we also have Marx and Engels issuing the communist manifesto in 1848 and Darwin's revolutionary publication " Origin of the species" in 1859. Painters have now access to synthetic chemical pigments developed by modern science which replace the old-fashioned organic pigments. The new pigments often have greater luminoscity and brilliance.

Lithography makes possible low-cost reproductions which allows artists to reach a new public with prints of their work. The same technology also brings about the newspaper and the low-cost novel. In every case, individual ideas can now be "broadcast" and diseminated amongst a more diverse audience than previously. Sheetmusic also can be printed and distributed widely. The previous ties between knowledge (as apart from education) and class-structure are being stretched much further.

Painters and poets who had not long before escaped reality as such with flights to the exoctic and romantic dreamworlds that typify the Neo-classic and Romantic styles and periods, are returning to the here and now. Balzac and Dickens are writing social critique,

Daumier and Courbet paint the social underdog in a style that creates social impact because of it's convincing realist treatement and the genre of subject-matter. We can see painters slowly turning towards the great cities for inspiration and subject-matter and a dominance of the artificial over the natural.

The growing need in this new social climate for artists to achieve immediacy of expression mean that we see them going outdoors to paint, using smaller canvasses out of necessity and speeding up the process of recording and depiction.

The impressionist style of painting is characterized chiefly by concentration on the general impression produced by a scene or object and the use of unmixed primary colors and small strokes to simulate actual reflected light.

Impressionism, (French "Impressionnisme"), a major movement, first in painting and later in music, that developed chiefly in France during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Impressionist painting comprises the work produced between about 1867 and 1886 by a group of artists who shared a set of related approaches and techniques. The most conspicuous characteristic of Impressionism was an attempt to accurately and objectively record visual reality in terms of transient effects of light and colour.

The principal Impressionist painters were:

Claude Monet
Pierre Auguste Renoir
Camille Pissarro
Alfred Sisley
Berthe Morisot
Armand Guillaumin
and

Frédéric Bazille
who worked together, influenced each other, and exhibited together and independently. Edgar Degas and Paul...
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