IMPRESSIONISM - THE BIRTH OF MODERN ART


OUTLINE
The movement of Impressionism (1867-1886) changed conventional academic artistic


Practices and transitioned the world into an era of Modern Art. Born from the vision of founders Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, Frederic Bazille. Impressionism was created from the inspiration that traditional life had an untraditional facet as seen through the artist’s eye.


I. What defines impressionism?
a) Era.


b) Birth of the modern art movement.


II. Foundation of the movement.


a) Contrast of preceding style.


b) Political climate and society’s response.


c) Invention and innovation (oil paint in tubes and tubs introduction of camera).


d) Facets of the style.


III. Artists.
a) Edouard Manet


b) Claude Monet


i. Early life.


ii. Influences


iii. Trademark of style


iv. Auguste Renoir


IV. Impressionism


a) How the style changed art – impact on other movements


b) Value of impressionism a century later



The movement of Impressionism (1867-1886) changed conventional academic artistic practices and transitioned the world into an era of Modern Art. Born from the vision of founders Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley and Frederic Bazille, Impressionism was created from the inspiration that traditional life had an untraditional facet as seen through the artists’ eye.


Preceding and during the Impressionism era, the Academie des Beaux Arts set rigid standards for French Art. This control was thoroughly established and transcended into the Salons of Paris, which could establish the success or failure of an artist who exhibited there. Historical compositions dominated the Salons at the time and were widely accepted by the public. At the arrival of the Impressionism movement, France had endured a degrading defeat in 1871 at the close of the Franco-Prussian War. The population of France found comfort in the traditional art of their past (Hermus Fine Arts: Art Movements). Impressionists held a degree of contempt for religious or historical subjects. They found more reality in scenes of contemporary life. Societal response to some of the first exhibits penned the phrase for the movement. The term Impressionism was first used in 1874 by Louis Leroy, a journalist for the magazine Le Charivari, and was meant to be a cutting remark (The Masters). Critics everywhere repeatedly wrote negative responses to the showings of the art. It was believed to be unfinished and child-like with the short rapid strokes and lack of defining lines. Critics believed the uncompromising nature of the motifs and how they were painted should be considered brutal and nauseating. The critics further scrutinized these artists by the selection of their themes. The subjects that they chose were considered unworthy and unsuitable for fine art, since they focused on more ephemeral and seemingly trivial aspects of the modern world, rather than creating scenes of natural beauty or moral significance (British Broadcasting Company: Arts).


Although the Impressionism movement saw little societal support, the artists of this movement were sustained by the Industrial Revolution. The invention of tub paints, oil based paints in tubes, allowed artists to create their visions as they choose to experience them en plein-air. An additional modern development, photography, gave Impressionists a goal to capture an image that the camera could not. In its early life, photography was primarily done in a studio. Cameras were large and cumbersome and required long exposures to capture the image. This technological advancement did little to change the effects of art. Subjects were required to sit for long periods of time and again kept to traditional aspects by artists before the Impressionism movement. Impressionism did not see support for its foresight of innovation until the development of portable cameras. With the development of portable cameras, photographers were able to explore the unexpected angle or an ingenuous subject. Like Impressionism, photography was proving that in actual life we focus on one spot within the entire composition (Gombrich 523-524).


Impressionists abandoned the concept of creating or finishing their works within the studio. They believed that to capture a motif as it is experienced, an artist should paint before the subject. It was this perception that lead to the discovery of the basis of the style. It was believed that color was not the property of an object itself, but the moment of perception of the light coming from the object. Thus, the color was constantly changing throughout the day. The position of the sun and