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What An Impressionist Painting Represents

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Cliffs Of Green River, 1879
Cliffs Of Green River, 1879
Cliffs Of Green River, 1879
Cliffs Of Green River, 1879
Cliffs Of Green River, 1879
Cliffs Of Green River, 1879

An impressionist painting represents much more than simply a piece of art. The history behind the method as well as the artists that made it famous brings a unique amount of depth to each and every picture.  The specific techniques utilized create an additional level of originality in each portrait or landscape put to canvas. Whether a work of art from hundreds of years ago or a more modern production, an impressionist painting provides its viewers with a real look into what the artist visualized in their own mind upon creating it.

Early French artists once stuck to the accepted themes of art, such as history and religion, and did so within the walls of a studio. They followed the strict and traditional style and expectations of the Salon and its jury to ensure their acceptance to this prestigious art show. Despite rejection and much controversy, artists began to discover new means for originality near the middle of the 19th century. This time often referred to as the Impressionist movement involved new techniques and styles, the increased use of visual effects to achieve different overall looks, painting outdoors, and more realistic subjects on each canvas. This well known movement officially began with a work of art by Claude Monet called Impression, Sunrise which received much criticism and led one reviewer in particular to label the artwork Impressionism. The name stuck and the many critics to the lack of rules among this new form of art eventually began to approve of what was created. This impressionist painting style is still widely popular and practiced today. In addition to Monet, many well known artists joined in on the movement and their works of art are still currently sought after. These famous figures include Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edouard Manet, and Paul Cezanne.

The distinct techniques that are utilized to create a one of a kind impressionist painting are unlike that of other styles. Artists make use of lighter colors, while darker colors such as black are used minimally. Colors are brushed on next to each other with very little mixing, while creating seamless edges for the viewer. Serious artists of this style prefer to work outdoors or “en plein air” to gain a true visualization of any present shadows and reflections. Many prefer working in the evening hours for the added effects the shadowing provides. The use of natural lighting is the key to the heart of this form of art. Short brush strokes are practiced to give focus to the overall picture rather than the smaller details. The subjects of this style also expanded from simple still lifes and landscapes to more candid poses and larger scenic views. They come off as more spontaneous and yet provide enough detail to keep the audience mesmerized with each glance.

While each and every aspect of their technique was not unique prior to the birth of this style, the artists of this period chose to create outside of the box. They combined the use of new tools, techniques, and effects together to produce a newfound form of expression. Their relaxed views and unstructured ways may not have landed much praise in the beginning, but it liberated both artists and photographers of the past and present in what they captured in their work. To own an impressionist painting is to not only have a piece of fine artistry, but it also represents a piece of free expression and originality in the history of the art world.


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