What Is Meant By The Term Impressionist Art?

Impressionism is an art movement that started in France in the 1860s and can be characterised by focusing on depicting current events and translating this into art. Although the intention is to visualise historical moments, the artist focuses on capturing emotions, light or feeling rather than portraying what is actually in front of them.

Impressionist art is truly painted in a unique and distinguishable way, and today we’re going to delve deeper into its history and the artists that made it famous.

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But First, Where Did Impressionism Come From?

Impressionism began in France, but more specifically, it was created by a group of Parisian painters - more on this later.

When Impressionism started to take over Paris, it was considered a radical movement as it was unlike any other previous art. Original Impressionists chose to rebel against the classic art that had been circulating for years and embraced modern life. The movement made its debut officially in a show hosted by Felix Nadar in his Paris photography studio. This stylish introduction made it known to the most eccentric yet influential Parisian crowd, which allowed it to spread all over the world.

Who Were The Main Impressionist Artists?

The founding artists of Impressionism include Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Edgar Degas. Many came after them, but these three are considered the founding fathers of the genre and also its most prolific. The name “Impressionism” was inspired by one of Monet’s paintings, ‘Impression, Sunrise’ and was originally used as an insult towards the painting as many artists regarded them as unfinished. Monet was considered the leader of the Impressionism movement, and he spent the rest of his life developing his skills and art almost pushing it towards abstractism.

Edgar Degas is now considered an Impressionist artist; however, he preferred to be referred to as a ‘realist’. His intent was to show what was “real” rather than the emotion behind it, but he often exhibited with the rest of the group which is why he is considered a part of the founding of Impressionist art. Another key figure was Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Renoir was very important in the development of Impressionism by pushing the genre toward interiors and the use of artificial light, unlike Monet’s love for natural light.

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How Does Impressionism Differ From Other Artistic Styles?

Impressionism differs from other art styles in a manner of ways. If we think about an art style such as cubism, one simple difference we can see is that cubist art is almost exclusively portraits, this fits with cubism’s objective to represent reality from multiple angles. This differs from Impressionism as the primary aim of Impressionists was to capture the effect of light of landscapes or events and transforming this into art.

Another art style that Impressionism differs from is abstract art. Abstract art seeks to depict a feeling or an emotional experience, whereas Impressionism aims to capture the moment or event but also the emotions that come with this experience.

In conclusion, Impressionism is an art genre which seeks to paint an Impression of what was in front of them and show the effect of the light in that specific moment. It aims to encompass the atmosphere of the moment in order to give the viewer a similar feeling to what was felt during the point of painting. It differs from other art forms such as cubism and abstract art. Cubism, as we mentioned before, primarily featured portraits, which is the opposite to Impressionism! However, abstract art uses different shapes and objects to depict emotions and has no aim to represent reality accurately. As we know, Impressionism focuses on portraying reality but with the added context of the light and emotions of that moment. So, abstract art, cubism and Impressionism are all unique forms of art that are famous in their own right. Impressionism is a beautiful and iconic art style, that deserves a spotlight on it!

We hope we’ve inspired you to research more into different styles of art; enjoy browsing through our selection of canvases, and don’t hesitate to contact us if you need any advice.