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What did the Impressionists aim to doTheir subject matter and their distinctive painting method - Essay Example

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The Impressionist movement grew out of an earlier movement called Realism which flourished in the government funded artistic salons in Paris in the middle of the 19th century. During the second half of the nineteenth century other artists took up this emerging style. …
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What did the Impressionists aim to doTheir subject matter and their distinctive painting method
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Download file to see previous pages The Impressionist movement grew out of an earlier movement called Realism which flourished in the government funded artistic salons in Paris in the middle of the 19th century. During the second half of the nineteenth century other artists took up this emerging style. In the middle of the 19th century painters were moving away from idealized pictures of classical scenes and began to focus more on everyday events and people drawn from real life. It is generally accepted that the Realist painter Edouard Manet was a key figure in the drive to achieve a painting style that could more closely approach real life. There was a growing interest in painting people and things out of doors, and in natural light, which was a big change from the fashion of the day for interiors and portraits. One of his most influential pictures was the “Luncheon on Grass” which shocked Parisian audiences because it showed realistic people in modern clothing surrounding a naked woman in natural landscape. Gunderson points out that it was not only the daring subject matter but also the painting style that caused consternation in artistic circles: “He used broad brush strokes that relied on the juxtaposition of different colors to create depth. He did not try to hide the brushstrokes to make the image appear real: instead he believed that the viewer should see the paint on the canvas. He focused on light…” (Gunderson, 2008, p. 12)...
His main theme was the world of theatre and dance, which sets him apart from most other Impressionists, but he shared many of their techniques. He belonged firmly to the Realist school in his early career, but increasingly made use of the sketchiness and more unfinished brush work of the Impressionists in his later work. Nevertheless, he consistently denied that he was part of the Impressionist movement. It is a characteristic of the Impressionists as a group that they argued and squabbled with each other about who was part of the group, and who was not. They endlessly debated one others’ works, the salon critics’ opinions, and the various techniques that they used. (Rewald, 1961, p. 543) This creative chaos produced a genuine and very fruitful era of technical experimentation which influenced many later styles and movements. It was not the work of any one artist in particular, but rather a collective effort that evolved as they competed to have their works shown in the salons and appreciated by a sceptical public. The paintings were often painted beyond Paris, however, in gardens or along the river Seine. At first the juries who decided which paintings could be displayed in public galleries were not sympathetic to the new style. It was not so much the subject matter that was hard to accept at first, but way that the artists approached their work: “For the impressionist, as the name implies, the concept of the “impression” provided the theoretical means for approaching the relation of individual and universal truth. The artists’ characteristic technical devices, such as accentuated (“spontaneous”) brushwork and bright color, are signs of their ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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