An Artistic Revolution


The Impressionism Period was a movement in art culture centered in France in the 1870’s and 80’s.The movement began in Paris where it went against all traditional views and is named after Monet’s early work; Impress: A Sunrise.Monet’s artwork was heavily criticized by art critic Louis Leroy; being viewed as controversial and a threat to the values that fine art meant to uphold. It wasn’t until Camille Pissarro (the first impressionist painter known as the “dean of the Impressionist painters”) died in 1903 that critics agreed that the movement was the revolutionary and the painters themselves were among the finest.

The impressionist style of painting is characterized chiefly by concentration on the general impression produced by a scene or object and the use of unmixed primary colors and small strokes to simulate actual reflected light.

Most well-known Impressionist painters: Claude MonetPierre Auguste RenoirCamille PissarroAlfred SisleyBerthe MorisotArmand Guillaumin, Frédéric Bazille who all worked together and influenced one another


The story behind the name of this era is for the theory that when painting, colour should be flat out dropped on a canvas instead of being mixed on a palette. As a-matter-of-fact, impressionism is for many for a state of mind rather than a technique; therefore artists other than painters are considered impressionists. These painters ignored all Law of Simultaneous Contrast created by Chevreul in 1823 defining how certain colour combinations affect our perception of art. Pictures are created from freely brushed colours using short “broken”strokes of mixed and pure unmixed colour to achieve an effect of intense colour vibration. Impressionists found that they could capture the effects of diffused sunlight by sitting outside under white umbrellas  painting en plein air

Opinion of the public

One artist unable to sell his works tried to display them in a local exhibit but was refused. At the time no one accepted the movement and many artists were being slammed by critics and the public constantly. Some well-known painters even held back participating in certain exhibits at this time due to the amount of criticism. Only a few people admired this type of artwork and for many artists’ life was uneasy and miserable. Slowly Impressionists were becoming more and more appreciated. Galleries were still very selective and how many/what paints they accepted, and in 1894 25 out of 65 artworks donated by painter Caillebotte to the Luxembourg museum were rejected. Then with Camille Pissarro’s death in 1903, everybody agreed that this movement was the movement was the revolutionary and the painters themselves were among the finest.

Ever since I saw my first Renoir, I fell in love with impressionism. The combination of patches of color and scattered light gave the paintings a kind of innocents. It moved me to discover rather than recognize what I was looking at. Here the familiar references were gone and I could wander.


Look familiar? Famous Dutch impressionist Vincent Van Gogh painted Starry Night in June 1889 which marked a turn turn towards greater imaginative freedom in Van Gogh’s art. Thought to be Van Gogh’s greatest painting, ironically enough he was extremely unhappy with the outcoming, complaining to this brother how most of it “says nothing to me, because it lacks individual intention and feeling in the lines.”


Don McLean’s song ‘Vincent’ (Starry, Starry Night) is based on the painting