.Destroying the traditional background, the freshness of Impressionist style and revolutionary art techniques made a crucial breakthrough in the painting, music, and literature of the 19th century. Originally, the term 'Impressionism’ was used to denote the unique style of a group of artists whose artistic skills originated the entirely new trend in the art. The group of unknown young artists challenged classical trends, causing lively disputes over their creative manner, named as Impressionism. Highly evaluated nowadays, their masterpieces became the laughing-stock of Paris condemned by critics one century ago.
Historical Background of Impressionism
Impressionism is a style of painting originated in France in the 19th century. Being created by the group of young students, including Claude Monet, Frederic Bazille, Alfred Sisley, Auguste Renoir, Impressionism became a revolutionary epoch in the development of European culture, replacing the classical stage.
A range of important events affected the work of artists, musicians, and writers of the epoch of Impressionism.
In the visual art, Impressionism experienced the influence of several events. First, in 1854, friendly relationships established between Japan and France boosted the international trade. In 1862, a Far Eastern shop opened in Paris. Japanese carving affected the art technique of the future Impressionists, who painted their masterpieces with printmaking. Japanese wood-block prints suggested the Impressionists new forms and modes of painting, such as flat and decorative forms, attractive colours, and compositions, lacking the symmetry. Second, the Franco-Prussian war made the significant effect on the new trend in the art. During the war activities, the first leader of the skilled artists Frederic Bazille was killed. At the same time, Claude Monet and Alfred Sisley, and Camille Pissarro travelled to London where they taught the art techniques of famous painters. Finally, the exhibition of 1874 became the starting point of the official history of Impressionism in the Art. The outrageous behaviour of critics caused the rebel among the group of artists. Moreover, the witty remarks about ‘Impression: Sunrise’, one of the paintings by Claude Monet, gave the name to the entire movement in the art.
The impressionists cannot be considered a formal group as a whole. It is remarkable to note that the future impressionists did not even choose the name of their innovative trend and never planned to represent a radical revolutionary movement in painting. What they had in common was that they were all in Paris in the early 1860s and realized that they shared desire to paint the landscape, cityscape, and modern life in new ways. Robert Katz and Celestine Dars claimed that the first brilliant exhibition was held because nobody of the future impressionists was successful at the official Salon, the key place in Paris for the painters. Though this event of 1874 did not bring success to the young artists, it was noticed by a hostile journalist and critic Louis Leroy who described the exhibition, his feelings and attitude towards the painting ‘Impression: Sunrise’ in his article 'The Exhibition of the Impressionists', occasionally giving the name to the innovative branch in the visual art. Since that moment, the term 'Impressionism' has become widely known due to Louis Leroy. Nevertheless, the art was not accepted by critics, disapproving scraped dried paint from the palette thrown onto a dirty canvas. The mature public was shocked by the revolutionary modes and technology of painting, an unusual “approach to color and a range of subject matter, making the exhibition the laughing-stock of Paris. Despite Louis Leroy’s version of Paris scene 'Boulevard des Capucines' by Claude Manet, famous French writers Baudelaire and Zola highly appreciated the innovative trend and saw in their work an important advancement of art into the modern era
Impressionist Works of Visual Art
Creating their masterpieces in the period of the struggle between modernity and classical order, the impressionists made a striking breakthrough in visual art.
Claude Monet as the founder of Impressionism in Visual Art.
Claude Monet is considered to be a founder of French Impressionism. One of his masterpieces ‘Impression: Sunrise' gave its name to the entire imressionist trend. The most famous Monet’s works are 'La Gare Saint-Lazare’, ‘Rue Saint-Denis’, ‘Festivities of 30 June, 1878’, landscapes in series ‘The Rocks of Bell-Ile’, ‘Cliffs at Belle-Ille’, ‘Poplars on the Bank of the River Epte’. However, his paintings were not success, starting to draw public attention only in 1880s. In his canvases, light is of vital importance. In fact, Monet has succeeded in rendering the same objects under different types of light, namely in the morning, afternoon, and evening. For example, the painter has created a series of the paintings, differring from each other only in the violence of color. In his masterpieces, Claude Monet evaluates the intimate and everyday, makes the accent on the picturesque moments and poetry of events. He highlights the interaction between the figure and the surrounding nature in scene set in the open air, the play of patches of light on clothes, ignoring small peculiarities of people’s faces.
Pierre-AugustE Renoir as the Co-founder of Impressionism in Visual Art
During the period of 1860s-1870s, Pierre -Auguste Renoir worked together with Claude Monet, combining their efforts and promoting a new, revolutionary style with the flat brush strokes transformed into flecks of paint to depict an unexpected scale of visual effects. Nevertheless, critics note that impressionism remained to be obtained by using feelings rather than considering the facts. Soon, other participants of the impressionist group started to use Monet and Renoir’s style of painting.
Renoir’s style is remarkable for its bright painting scale, cheerful character, and strong clear lines. His famous canvases are ‘The Large Bathers’, ‘Luncheon of the Boating Party’, ‘Dance at le Moulin de la Gallette’. At the beginning of his career as a painter, Pierre-Auguste Renoir created portraits and real life descriptions, succeeding in painting facial expressions. He is famous for his unique technique of broken brush strokes, skillfully rendering effects of lighting and movement. The influence of Japanese carvings and mode of art techniques can be seen there. In his middle years, Renoir is considered to use only five colors in his palette. Over time, his canvases developed into linear. In his advanced years, Renoir returned to impressionism, preferring brush strokes. During this time, the painter focused on epic nudes and domestic scenes.