Who: Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir amongst others.

What: A school of painting that originated in the latter half of the 19th Century.

Where: Originally Paris.

Why: A rejection of the norms of Academic traditional painting.

When: Between 1860-1900.

“Impressionism; it is the birth of Light in painting.” – Robert Delaunay

Impressionism is a school of painting that came about to reject the traditional story-telling, moral academic painting. They explored what painting could do to the senses, following in the footsteps of Eugène Delacroix and JMW Turner, using bright colours and sensations of light and movement. They also began to paint outdoors, instead of in studios, or what is called en plein air (in the open air), so they could more accurately capture the fleeting effects of sunlight and colours. They focused on effects instead of details – on the impression – and didn’t smoothly blend colours, instead using shorter, more distinct brush strokes, and used light colour palettes. Whilst the art community rejected it, the public came to appreciate it. By the 1880s the painters began to go their separate ways in an attempt to develop more unique styles.

Further Reading:

Pierre-August Renoir, Le Moulin de la Galette, 1876


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