Impressionist Art – Definition, Characteristics and Concepts

It is a pictorial artistic movement, which originated mainly for the painting that was carried out in this movement, bone is linked to painting, where painters portrayed objects according to the impression that light produced on sight, without observing objective reality, they represented the natural and the real, although it was also expressed in sculpture, literature and music.

Impressionist art is a trend that has also manifested itself in sculpture, literature and music, but it will be in Painting, where it was mostly expressed and became its most recognized aspect, as well as pictorial impressionism. consider the precursor to the movement in question.

Impressionist art is an artistic trend that originated in France at the end of the 19th century, and then spread to other European countries, which promoted the reproduction of impressions that the author awakens in nature or any other external stimulus. He was against the artistic formulas imposed by the French Academy of Fine Arts, which set the role models and sponsored the official exhibitions at the Parisian Salon.

However, “impressionist” as an adjective is used to label various forms of art representation, such as literature (with the Goncourt brothers), music (with Debussy), among other types of representation. A very peculiar characteristic of this type of art is its defined features that make it very difficult in extension in other plastic arts such as sculpture or architecture. That is why this kind of art is usually seen in painting and sometimes in photography and cinema.
The artists who followed Impressionism art were individualists, they had differences between their works, but they supported each other, uniting them with the common feeling of rebellion against the traditional and classicist, until realism reached its maximum expression, where they reflected reality in his works as they perceived it, with a special light that fell twice the objects, like a light and colorful brushstroke. It is an intimate art rooted in the feeling of individual originality, which begins with personal experiences and experiences in solitude.

Origin of impressionist art

For a time impressionist art, as art, was referred to as eclecticism. This concept referred to a stage of stylistic ruptures that shortly after formed a unique personality to modern art. This style of art originated as such in the 19th century, they also used to represent landscapes and were in search of a new language that was based on extreme naturalism. However, in 1873 a very drastic modification began in Impressionism where the passage from the preparatory period to the period of flowering can be clearly seen. With the ultimate goal of attracting other artists, a limited company of engravers, sculptors, and painters was created. Impressionist art spread throughout Europe in various countries, this extension was given by the speed and ease with which the works could be represented.

Impressionist art features

  • They eliminate black and perspective.
  • They show a preponderance of the primary colors, used without mixing.
  • Dark tones are not widely used.
  • They postulated the principles of color contrast, which assume that each color is relative to the colors around it.
  • They painted with no intention of hiding the fragmented brushstrokes, demonstrating that under certain conditions, the perspective allowed different disconnected parts to give rise to a unitary whole.
  • Outdoor scenes became his favorite subject.
  • Shapes appear blurred, as light tends to blur the contours.
  • They will focus on the effects that natural light produces on objects, achieving a spontaneous and direct representation of the world.
  • They saw colors that make things, and this is what they captured, shapes made up of colors that vary depending on atmospheric conditions and the intensity of light.
  • They eliminated the minute details and only suggested the shapes, using primary colors such as blue, red and yellow and complementary colors such as orange, green and violet.
  • They managed to offer an illusion of reality by applying short, juxtaposed brush strokes of color directly to the canvas.

Techniques used in impressionist art

In Impressionist art, the most widely used techniques can be classified into shape, pure colors and Gestalt brushstrokes. Of these three methods we can highlight:

  • Form: the form is subordinated to the unusual lighting conditions since it is left to the draftsman and not to the painter. For this reason, artists of this type of art try to find a picturesque lighting condition, leaving their genius to act and try to illuminate the interior of a work with artificial light, with natural filtered light or with light from the outside that reveals reflections of water. . In addition, the main characteristic of the painting is that it happens to represent things that seem intrinsic to the artists, so the shapes mix, separate or dilute, all depending on the lighting used.
  • Pure colors: with the arrival of the 19th century and the development of science and techniques, they created new color pigments that would help artists to give new tones to their paintings. In general, oil was used since they tried to achieve a saturation of color and purity with unnatural products. As a consequence of using saturated or natural colors, it gave rise to chromatic contrasts and complementary colors. Therefore, instead of being represented with a very dark color, shadows began to be represented with desaturated or cold tones that gave the impression of depth. On the contrary, the background was represented by warm and saturated colors. Therefore, in this art modality we can appreciate a very great richness of color which allowed adjusting the volume with luminous nuances, with which highlights were developed in places where shadows went and shadows where in illuminated places.
  • Gestalt brushstrokes: this method appeared some time later and basically tried to use brushstrokes with natural colors, however, these brushstrokes did not comply with the local color or shape, so a single unit was achieved.

Outstanding Impressionism Painters

In impressionist art we can see various famous painters, in addition to many famous painters as well. Among all of them we can highlight Paul Cézanne who considered himself an impressionist until years later he left impressionism to dedicate himself to cubism. In addition we can highlight others such as Camille Pissarro, Henri Rouart and Alfrend Sisley, who was exclusively a landscape painter, Pisarro, who led the study of light and color to the last consequences, reaching post-impressionism and pointillism.

If we talk about the most outstanding painter of impressionist art, we must highlight Marianne North, Eva Gonzalès, Mary Cassatt, Berth Morisot, among others.

In Spain, Impressionism had several followers who expressed their concern about light. Among them Regoyos, Sorolla, Rusiñol and Casas stand out.

Eduard Manet:
 born in 1832, he was between realism and Impressionism. Some have classified his style as naturalistic because it is based on observation of reality and its expression without alteration. He represents life as it is, without decoration or metaphor, so much so that his works provoke scandals and controversies. He used the quick and pasteled brushstroke, capturing reality and transience, a trait that he will identify as an artist of impressionist art. Outstanding works we have Breakfast on the grass, caused the hostility of conservative critics, Olympia, which represented the nude of a prostitute, a woman of contemporary life.

Claude Monet: born in 1840. He is one of the painters who contributes the most to the movement, remaining faithful to Impressionism until his death. In his works he reflected the chromatic-light vibration. Light begets color and shape. Her favorite subjects are the seascapes, the river scenes and the landscapes. We have as an example works such as Impression dusk, Regattas in Argentuil, The poppies, Walk with an umbrella, The station of San Lázaro, The Cathedral of Rouen.

Edgar Degas: born in 1834. He is an impressionist who cares more about shape than color, being skillful in drawing. He captured the movement with fidelity, being a great observer of women, capturing the most unusual postures, the natural and instantaneous poses. Her favorite subjects were dancers and horse racing. Important works of this artist we have, Dance class, The drinker of absinthe, Dancer on the scene, Ironers, Races.

Renoir: born in 1841. This artist offers a more sensual interpretation of Impressionism. It has a vibrant and bright palette making it special. In his works he shows the joy of living, even when the protagonists are workers. They are always characters having fun, in a pleasant nature. His themes were flowers, sweet scenes of children and women and especially the female nude, which reminds Rubens of its thick shapes. His most representative works were The box, The swing, The Moulin de la Galette, Le dèjeuner des canotiers, Bathers


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