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The Impressionist artists are a group of artists that took the art world by storm from the 1860s – 1800s in France.  Their paintings work to capture the light of the scene, as well as be spontaneous with a very naturalistic, simplistic representation of what they were painting. Often when one thinks of this type of artist, landscapes come to mind.


This style is known for taking a scene and portraying it in a way that would be a snapshot of the scene, a glimpse of it. These paintings all have similar techniques and use a lot of color to capture the light. The goal of the impressionist painter was to accurately portray reality, but do it though light and color than more structured representations.


With the outdoors often portrayed, the light is well represented in these paintings. They are all bold in how they represent the scene. The colors are not muted or soft. This allows for less detail in the actual items, but the color providing the detail.  There is a definite lack of a structure in the strictest use of the word in this type of painting. 


The impressionist artists were deeply influenced by classicism and realism, and by the 1855 World Fair, held in Paris, France, art was being given large amounts of attention.  The impressionists came of age during this period, just on the cusp of this whole new style of painting.


Charles Suisse created the Académie Suisse, which was a place that Monet, Pissarro Cezanne and Guillaumin came to work.  This provided much support for them where they could work out their ideas together, some more controversial than others. In some ways art was always viewed restrictively, and Monet and his counterparts had to display their art in other venues to have it judged because it did not fit into the traditional mold.


In 1874 came a turning point though, Monet and his counterpart’s art was displayed with other works of art and not just relegated shows in Nadar’s photography salon.  As expected, critics panned it.  On April 25, 1874 the movement was named when art critic Louis Leroy wrote the word impressionniste after viewing Monet’s Impression: Soliel Levant, which stuck and ended up being applied to the entire movement.  It is thought that Leroy got the idea from Nadar’s exhibit called Exposition des Impressionnistes. This was held by the Anonymous Society of Painters, sculptors, and engravers, or more formally known as Société anonyme des peintres, sculpteurs et graveurs.


In addition to Monet, this core group also includes Alfred Sisley and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Others classified in this group are Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet, Frederic Bazille, Camille Pissarro, Gustave Caillebotte and Berthe Morisot.


All of these artists worked together to bring about this highly recognizable medium. Many of them worked directly with Monet and they all influenced each other in creating this style that has become a corner stone of art styles. It is thought that Monet himself really adopted the principles of the impressionist style in 1873.



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