Enlightenment to Romanticism
Due April, 17, 2013
Impressionism refers to a style of art or a movement that began in France in the 19th century (Nobert, 12). The impressionist artists rose to prominence because of their independent exhibitions in 1870s to 1890. They faced extreme opposition from conservative or conventional artists in France. An art movement refers to artistic style evident in artistic work of various artists. In this case, artists who belong to a particular art movement tend to have similar goals, subjects of work and use similar techniques. In terms of composition, the impressionists rejected the traditional composition rules by keeping their style open for experimentation. They would omit details and focus on overall painting effects as a way of capturing a particular moment. This research paper seeks to provide a detailed insight into impressionist movement.
Impressionism defied rules of conventional and traditional classical-paintings in relation to both style and content (David, 37). The traditional movement placed greater emphasis on portraits, religious themes and historical subjects characterized by conservative styles that mirrored reality. The traditional movement did not pay attention to the feelings and emotions of artists. On the other hand, impressionism focuses on painting still life, landscapes and nature. Impressionist artists would paint subjects such as oceans and fields. While conservative painters tended to focus on portraying historical and dramatic scenes, the impressionists concentrated on momentary paintings. However, when impressionists worked on paintings of people, they placed greater emphasis to painting regular individuals and not famous people, religious people or royal figures.
Impressionist paintings emphasized on the background instead of the main people or item of the painting (Nobert, 60). Impressionists equally focused on effects of light on the subject one was painting. In an attempt to underline the light effect, some of the impressionists would work on same paintings but depicting different seasons. Equally, impressionism involved the use of short thick brush strokes in paintings instead of the traditional unnoticeable and smooth strokes. Impressionist preferred employing the use of many colors for painting everyday life subjects (Wolf, 53). The influence of impressionism spread from France to various parts of Europe and eventually reached the United States. The pioneers of expansionist art rejected government –sanctioned exhibitions and they equally suffered rejection by established art institutions.
The impressionists lightened the palettes that they used and loosened their brushwork in order to include intense and pure colors (Wolf, 38). This was different from the traditional linear approach. In terms of color, the impressionists avoided the use of somber tones that characterized earlier paintings. Instead, they used vibrant and light colors while avoiding the use of earth and black colors. The impressionists equally paid minimal attention to clarity of form, which served as a mechanism of distinguishing the lesser aspects of a picture from the more important and critical elements. The opponents of impressionists criticized their work arguing that the impressionist paintings seemed amateurish in quality and unfinished in appearance (David, 75). The way they framed or cropped their pictures were equally new to the art community at the time. They would capture a scene as if through a camera lens or in passing. Impressionism encompassed the use of quick broken brushstrokes as a way of conveying movement and changes in passing moments.
Claude Monet was one of the key figures of the impressionist movement. Consistent depiction of leisure activities and landscapes characterized Monet’s style. He played an integral and significant role in developing the unique style of the twentieth