Impressionism in 19th century essay

Impressionism is an art movement that emerged in the 19th century. This movement happened as a result of some of the artists in Paris, France exhibiting their art works publicly in 1860s. It is seen that the artists of these time broke the rules of painting. One, they took painting out of the studio, by painting from outside a technique that was referred to as en plein air. Second the introduced colors to painting. All these were contrary to the initial styles of academic painting where major paintings like portraits, still lifes and landscapes were done indoors.

One renown Artist of the time was Claude Monet who’s work titled Sunrise (Impression, soleil levant) made a major impact hence the derivation of the name of the movement. Impressionist paintings were characterized by brushstrokes that were visible and they put an emphasis on light and its changing qualities. They also painted ordinary subject matters. The composition of impressionists especially those from France had a beautiful composition in their paintings that some critics described as an art of closeness and movement. Some viewed the paintings as a composition of candid poses.

The way the impressionists used the light value of color can be described as a play of light and this they expressed in the variations of color they used in their paintings. I will discuss some of the great works by two impressionists of the time. I will have a closer look at the works on Monet and Renoir. Composition and Content of Impressionists It is argued that impressionism happened in France at a time when some other painters e. g. Italian Macchiaioli and from the United States Winslow Homer had already explored into open air painting.

But impressionism in France saw a rise of new techniques, which encompassed a new way of seeing. The artists of the time included both movement and immediacy in painting candid compositions. They had a vivid play of light, which they expressed in varied use of color. Though the public was hostile to impressionism during the time, they came to realize and believed that the impressionists had tried so much to capture original visions that were fresh. They aimed at renewing the sensations in the eyes of the viewers rather than repeating original subjects.

I will be discussing two renowned artists i. e. Renoir and Monet and the impression they tried creating in some of their renowned works. I will also discuss their social involvement during the time and their application of the new techniques of the impressionism movement. Claude Monet Born in 1840 and died in 1926, he is considered the founder of impressionism movement. The title of the movement was derived from his famous work; Impression Sunrise. He was a major artist of this movement who expressed his perception of nature through his paintings. This was characterized by open air painting.

The freedom of workmanship during the time permitted Monet to paint the piece; impression, sunrise. In this painting we can see that he was actually socially engaged. We can view that there is movement and change of venue that is from indoor to outdoor, what was referred to as open air landscaping. This seascape that Monet has painted makes us believe that during the painting he must have been socially engaged, in that other that merely impressing the eye, or doing it for arts sake, Monet is so impressed in the sunrise that he adds flavor to the piece by vast use of color.

The short brush strokes used makes a viewer impressed in the beauty too. Another aspect of impressionism in Monet’s painting is the attribute of the patchy texture. (Impression, Sunrise:http://longwood. cs. ucf. edu/~MidLink/Impress. html) Pierre-Auguste Renoir Born in 1841 and died in 1919, Renoir is also known as one of the greatest French impressionist artist. He is known as a celebrator of beauty because most of his works were of feminine nature. Renoir is known for his representation of composition of people in intimate positions. Female nudity was among his primary themes.

His paintings were mostly characterized by the richness in vibrant light and the use of saturated color. He has expressed the fusion of people in a soft and pleasant way to their surroundings through the freely brushed strokes of color in his paintings. Among the many works that Renoir has done is his 1876 dance at Le Moulin de la Galette. In this painting there is an open air scene that is crowded with people at a dance garden. (http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Image:Renoir21. jpg) In this work, we can see charming people full of life and an attractive emotion.

Once again the setting is outside, a characteristic of the expressionism movement known as open air painting. Once again the reflection of the figures is not expressed in black as initially depicted in Renoir’s works. The shadows are represented by a reflection of the objects surrounding figures. The social involvement in Renoir’s painting can be seen in the above work through the interactions in the people who are merely satisfying natural entertainment drives and having real enjoyment. There is sense of living in the painting’s surface through the textual effect he has created.

This creates a feeling of a live skin. The people in this painting are not only feeling sweet and nice but the richly used variety of color freshens them. Conclusion Though with great inspirations from previous artists, like Renoir was greatly influenced Courbert’s realism in painting Diana in 1867. Impressionism painters had a new style of painting during the time. Their richness in using color had different impressions on different critics. For instance one Albert Aurier criticized Renoir’s works as merely pretty and merely superficial (Albert Aurier: la charivari newspaper April 24 1874).

He argued these on the basis of the ideas and the vision for the world that the impressionists had. In the 1860s both Claude Monet and Renoir discovered that black and brown were not really the colors of the shadow of objects but shadows of objects were a reflect of the objects surrounding them. This was a remarkable style of painting that was introduced during the impressionism period. They also found out that they could achieve the ephemeral effect of sunlight by painting in the air, what was known as en plein air. There is the aspect of the realistic life being painted by artist in this era.

Detail ion not so much emphasized on their paintings but rather emphasis was expressed in the overall effect of the work. This was achieved through the use of Broken and short brush strokes of pure color. Color vibration was also achieved by not blending smoothly the strokes of the brushes.


Paul Alexis, Emile Zola, and Bard H Bakker: Naturalisme Pas Mort. 1971, University of Toronto Press. (Pg 126) Vivien Hamilton. Millet to Matisse, nineteenth to twentieth century. 2002. Yale University Press. (Pg 64) Kirk Vernadoe, Gustave Caillebotte. Study of Life and work of a forgotten impressionism. 200, Yale University press ( Pg 28)