Impressionism

The last exercise was to annotate and analyse an Impressionist Landscape or paint your own version. I chose Monet’s ‘Landscape with Thunderstorm’, this is my pastel version.

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The Impressionist movement in painting originated in France in the 1860’s and had an enormous influence on European and North American painting in the late 19th century. The Impressionists wanted to depict real life, to paint straight from nature and to capture the changing effect of light. The term was first used derisively to describe Claude Monet’s painting Impression, Sunrise (1872). Other leading Impressionists included Paul Cezanne, Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet, Camille Pissaro and Pierre-Auguste Renoir but only Monet remained devoted to Impressionist ideas throughout his career.

One of the hallmarks if Impressionism is painting in the open air (en plain air). Monet, Renoir and Alfred Sisley who met as students and enjoyed painting this way were committed to painting nature. Their styles were diverse, but all they all experimented with the effects of light and movement created with distinct brushstrokes and fragments of colour that were placed side by side on the canvas instead of being mixed on a palette.

Manet emerged as the leader of the early Impressionists but it was Monet and his followers who laid the theoretical foundations of the movement. They avoided using browns, blacks and ochre’s only using pure colours of the spectrum with the addition of white.

Although the movement had run its course by the late 1880’s there were various developments out of it from 1880to 1905, Post Impressionism and Neo Impressionism. Impressionism also had a major influence on British avant-garde painting in the late 19th century and early 20th century.

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