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What Is Impressionism?

Americans for the Arts reports that 91% of Americans feel that art is part of a well-rounded education. Unfortunately, most people are unfamiliar with some key types of art. Online art classes for adults can be a great way to learn more about art, as can reading more about different techniques. Read on to learn more about impressionism, one of the most famous styles of art.

The Characteristics of Impressionism

Impressionism is characterized by its emphasis on capturing the momentary effects of natural light on the landscape, atmosphere, and other elements of everyday life. Impressionists rejected the traditional artistic standards of their time, such as painting in studios and using academic techniques, to create a more spontaneous and immediate style. Instead, they often painted en plein air (in the open air), working quickly to capture the fleeting impressions of the world around them.

Impressionist paintings are often characterized by their loose brushstrokes, bright colors, and an emphasis on capturing the essence of the subject rather than a realistic representation. They also frequently depict modern life and its leisurely activities, such as picnics, boating, and outdoor cafes. In contrast to the traditional art of the time, Impressionism sought to portray modern life in a fresh and innovative way. Many online art classes for adults teach this art style.

The Artists of Impressionism

Some of the most famous artists associated with Impressionism include Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, and Camille Pissarro. Claude Monet is perhaps the most famous Impressionist artist, known for his series of paintings of water lilies and the Rouen Cathedral. Pierre-Auguste Renoir, focused on the human figure, often depicting people enjoying leisurely activities in outdoor settings. Edgar Degas was known for his depictions of ballet dancers. And Camille Pissarro was known for his landscapes and use of color.

The Legacy of Impressionism

Impressionism had a profound impact on the art world, inspiring new movements and styles that followed. Its emphasis on capturing the fleeting effects of light and atmosphere paved the way for later styles like Post-Impressionism, Fauvism, and Expressionism. Impressionist techniques and styles continue to influence artists today, as many painters still use en plein air painting and other techniques pioneered by the Impressionists.

Impressionism is an artistic movement that emerged in France in the late 19th century. Its emphasis on capturing the fleeting effects of light and atmosphere, along with its focus on modern life, helped to transform the art world and inspire new styles and movements. With its bright colors, loose brushstrokes, and emphasis on spontaneity and innovation, Impressionism remains an important part of art history and continues to inspire artists today. If you are interested in learning more about impressionism, consider participating in our online art classes for adults at the Yarnell School of Fine Arts.