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Author Topic: History of Impressionism  (Read 4111 times)

nolan

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on: February 01, 2010, 04:04:58 PM

Monet - Wheatstacks - 1890-91

Introduction

Before we can start painting impressionistic paintings, we first need to understand what impressionism is and where it originated from. To do this we need to travel back in time to the late nineteenth century.

Here we are going to discover many artists who we now regard as masters, but who where at the time shunned as revolutionaries. These include Monet, Renoir, Pissarro and Sisley.

Definition

Let's take a look at the definition of Impressionism.

The dictionary defines Impressionism : art style that gives a general effect or mood rather than form or structure.

From an artists point of view : the impressionistic style of painting is characterized by a concentration on the general impression produced by a scene or object and the use of unmixed primary colours and small strokes to simulate actual reflected light.

Those are pretty deep words, but what do they mean?

The three main points to remember are :

1) Creating a general impression of what you are painting ie. You are leaving out the fine detail and letting the viewers mind add it in.

2) You are using unmixed primary colours. Now this is one part of impressionistic painting that I have found few artists adhere to, but this technique led to the founding of another style called pointillism.

3) The third characteristic is the use of small strokes. When we start painting we will see that this is probably the most defining characteristic of impressionism.

History

Let's jump back in time to the 1860's. Think of Napoleon III and imagine how he dressed, then you can picture how stiff and aristocratic the way of life used to be.

At this time there was a very regimented "official" style of art that the artists practised. When Monet, Sisley, Renoir and a few others started painting their "break-away" style of painting, there was such an uproar that their paintings were refused into the main galleries and exhibits. To a professional artist that means no income.

Many artists however where so outraged by this that Napoleon III allowed them to open their own exhibit. The public didn't understand their works initially, but by 1876 they started to enjoy and purchase their works. This was roughly 16 years after the movement was started. By this time most impressionists had had enough, which is understandable, they needed to sell paintings to live.

Ironically only Monet and Sisley persisted with the impressionistic style, remaining almost flat broke until their last years.

When Pissarro died in 1903 everybody agreed that impressionism was the main 19th century artistic revolution and thanks to Monet, Renoir, Sisley and Pissarro impressionism is still popular today.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2010, 02:45:57 PM by nolan »


Tony (ASM)

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Reply #1 on: October 24, 2011, 07:01:50 AM
I really enjoyed reading about this 'Impressionist' style of painting. I didn't know anything about the history or who was renowned for those works of art.
It's something I'd like to have a go at although I don't like a painting to look too far removed from photorealistic. A bit like this one by Anita who posted recently (Oct 2011):
 http://www.paintbasket.com/members/index.php?action=media;sa=item;in=1146
I like that because it looks 'painterly' or, what I think of as 'Impressionistic'.
I hope Nolan and Dennis do a lesson to teach this.
 :painting:
« Last Edit: October 24, 2011, 11:56:40 AM by Topdoginuk »
''Don't spend life going forward in reverse, just glimpse the rear view mirror now and again then, focus on what lays ahead''.
(Tony. ASM 3rd July 2013)


thegrindre

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Reply #2 on: October 24, 2011, 11:05:06 AM
I never studied art of any kind other then about 4 years or so of architectural and mechanical drafting back in school so, this kind of information is welcomed and I find it very interesting.
Thanks for sharing, Nolan.  O0
a.k.a. Rick
At my age, 'Happy Hour' is a nap...


anita

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Reply #3 on: October 24, 2011, 12:01:15 PM
I admire photorealism, the artists are certainly skilled at their craft ...  but I love the spontaneity, warmth, light and mood that impressionist manage to convey with that balance between abstract and form, definitely my favourite style.  If I ever get to the point I could paint a Wheatstacks I'd be a happy bunny  :)


Anita


Tony (ASM)

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Reply #4 on: October 24, 2011, 12:16:29 PM
I admire photorealism, the artists are certainly skilled at their craft ...  but I love the spontaneity, warmth, light and mood that impressionist manage to convey with that balance between abstract and form, definitely my favourite style.  If I ever get to the point I could paint a Wheatstacks I'd be a happy bunny  :)


Anita
I hope you didn't mind me quoting your work of art Anita! It's a great example of the type of work I always thought was 'Impressionistic'. I look forward to you doing some more and, I'd hope Dennis & Nolan cover a lesson on it sometime. If only to broaden my options for self expression and develop some unique style.
Cheers  ;)
''Don't spend life going forward in reverse, just glimpse the rear view mirror now and again then, focus on what lays ahead''.
(Tony. ASM 3rd July 2013)


Val

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Reply #5 on: October 26, 2011, 12:38:10 PM
 :clap: Fascinating history lesson Nolan.  O0 Perhaps we can have a section for the history of painting and a who's who in the painting art world.
Cheers, Val

”Creativity is allowing yourselves to make mistakes. Work on knowing which ones to keep!”

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Kelley

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Reply #6 on: October 26, 2011, 06:21:34 PM
I agree with you Val.  And thank you Nolan.

I used to have a lack of appreciation for history, but now understand how important it is. I have so much to learn!

Kelley


Val

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Reply #7 on: October 27, 2011, 03:20:55 AM
I've always been a bit of a history nut. Looking forward to getting down to the Mayan ruins in Guadeloupe in the coming year.  :heeha:
Cheers, Val

”Creativity is allowing yourselves to make mistakes. Work on knowing which ones to keep!”

- Alvaro Castagnet


patindaytona

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Reply #8 on: November 21, 2011, 02:08:18 PM
Really nice article Nolan. It's too the point.  Ok, short strokes, pure primaries. But what do I do after my paint leaves the brush?? ;D
The idea of pure color sounds so appealing. Is their such a tutorial that you know of Nolan on this? A foundation of it would be really really great. It's hard for me to even imagine that such a style would have some kind of practical "method" behind it.
The moment you find yourself mostly satisfied with a painting and think you'll "just quickly" do this or that, that's the moment to stop completely. Take the painting off your easel and put it aside for at least 24 hours, then reassess whether it really needs that tweak.


nolan

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Reply #9 on: November 21, 2011, 04:59:29 PM
I have not seen a tut on that one yet Pat  :-\


Leana

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Reply #10 on: November 22, 2011, 03:11:05 AM
 :thankyou: Nolan... very interesting and informative reading.
Leana

"Good art is a form of Prayer.  It's a way to say what is not sayable." ~ Frederich Busch

"Art is not just ornamental, an enhancement of life, but a path in itself, a way out of the predictable and conventional, a map to selfdiscovery." ~ Gabrielle Roth


patindaytona

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Reply #11 on: November 22, 2011, 06:23:35 AM
Since impressionism was in it's infancy, it must mean that every artist who attempted it did it his way only. It had no fundemental training whatsoever.  Even though Van Gogh and Renoir and Monet did impressionism, each was different than the next in it's own way.   They must have just kind of dabbled until they got what they wanted. Not a strong sense of direction at first.
The moment you find yourself mostly satisfied with a painting and think you'll "just quickly" do this or that, that's the moment to stop completely. Take the painting off your easel and put it aside for at least 24 hours, then reassess whether it really needs that tweak.


nolan

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Reply #12 on: November 22, 2011, 01:59:00 PM
that is why true impressionism didn't last very long, they all ended up mixing their colours on the palette to an extent  ;D


claude

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Reply #13 on: November 22, 2011, 02:00:22 PM
Time for an anecdote. The impressionnists like Nolan mentionned, were very unpopular and starving. They came up with a scheme to get money from their paintings by holding a weekly drawing where the winner would get a painting from one of the group. Now Paris was crazy about lotteries and buying drawing tickets was the "in" thing. This particular week the 2 penny ticket could win you a Monet. The lucky winner was invited to pick up her painting at a local pastry shop. So this woman walks in, and seeing her prize, a Monet, was very disapointed and asked if instead she could have a pastry (a Saint-Honoré). A few years later, her prize, if she had taken it, would have made her and her family very rich people.
If not now, when? If not me, who?


nolan

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Reply #14 on: November 22, 2011, 02:43:55 PM
 :o

When I emigrated I gave all the students that stayed with me till the end each a painting to thank them for their support - hopefully one day they will also be rich  ;D


 

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