Short Essay: Impressionism
Word Count: 1,089
Impressionism or the Impressionist school of painting was one of the most popular genres of art practiced in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The name derives from the unfinished look, which these paintings seem to project, are rather the creation of the impression, which they leave on the mind of the viewer. The Impressionist form of painting worked to capture the immediate moment, brimming with the vitality of the day and the ordinary everyday pursuits of the common people who were its subject. It was a break from the rigidity of the neo classical tradition that was typical of early 19th century art.
According to Kleiner, (2009) Impressionism can be seen as the reaction to the “Sometimes brutal and chaotic transformation off French life that occurred during the latter half of the 19th-century.”(p. 654) The paintings of this genre show a tendency towards incorporating subjects from real life and real events compared to the earlier period when themes were chosen from history and religion. Some of the most famous artists of the period lived in Paris and as such, some of the most well known works of the period depict the good Parisian life. Impressionism was also influenced by the art of Japan and artists incorporated Japonisme, the aesthetic of Japanese beauty and exoticism in their works.
According to Gunderson, (2008) Impressionism “ was centered in Paris, sprang from Realism, in large part due to a prominent painter of the time, Edouard Manet” (p. 11) one of the foremost artists of the style. Impressionism, in this sense can be seen as a reaction against “the flamboyant opulence and ostentation, the meaningless eclecticism of the Neo – Renaissance Neo – baroque extravaganza, with its lavish sculptural decorations…” (Honour, Fleming 2005, p. 712) that was part of the Third Republic. While Manet may be one of the important artists of the period, some of the other important artists...
* Gunderson, Jessica 2008, Impressionism, The Creative Company. Honour, Hugh, & Fleming, John, 2005, A World History of Art, Laurence King Publishing.
* Kleiner, F. S, 2009, Gardner 's art through the ages: the Western perspective, Volume 2, Cengage Learning
* Rewald, John, 1961, The History of Impressionism, Museum of Modern Art, New York.
* Salinger, Margaretta M, 1968. "Windows Open to Nature." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, v. 27, no. 1
* Boddy-Evans, M. (2012) Art Glossary: Plein-Air Painting. [online] Available at:
http://painting.about.com/od/artglossaryp/g/defpleinair.htm [Accessed: October 07, 2012].
* New World Encyclopedia, n.d., Luncheon of the boating party. [online] Available at: http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/PierreAuguste_Renoir#Luncheon_of_the_Boating_Party
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