Impressionism was born from the urge to break free from the constraints of Art forms in the 19th century. Many studies under mentors who passed on the traditional styles painting form and figure, but some spoke of revolutionizing the art world. World events and public attitude toward art allowed impressionists to break free from the mainstream French Art scene.
Impressionism was initially forged out of a love for nature. The artists were interested in depicting reality as they saw beauty in even the mundane facets of life. The brush strokes and color changes are obvious and the choppy effect sometimes has to be viewed at a distance to determine the picture’s message. When viewed closely, the artist’s emotion is easily discernable with their brush strokes. When viewing impressionist work, it is almost as if you are viewing a memory of what the artist saw. As it loses its accuracy over time, it becomes less focused and sometimes more vibrant in color.
A group of up and coming painters developed the Impressionist art form in France in the late 1800’s. This group of painters, who called themselves “Intransigents”, consisted of Bazille, Monet, Sisley, and Renoir. Fed up with imitating the rigid style of those they studied under, they met on their way home from the studio discussing revolutionizing the art world. They longed to break from the mold. Édouard Manet’s painting of Luncheon in the Grass in 1863 became their inspiration to pursue the artistic form. Manet’s painting was an adaptation of Raphael’s engraving “Judgment of Paris” Years later, as they developed their craft, the need to display their art became apparent. At the time, the Salon was the only contemporary art museum, which was also an artist’s ticket during the 18th and 19th century. The rigid, classical requirements of the Salon had no place for the young developing artists as they explored new artistic style. After much persistence and rejection, by 1868 all of the Intransigents were displayed at the Salon. Once they were in, they were dissatisfied with the profit-driven atmosphere of the Salon and sought to have their own exhibition. They had little success with their own exhibition and during the Franco-German war, their leader Bazille was killed in action. A young artist by Edward Degas joined the group shortly bringing a renewed sense of passion for exhibiting their impressionist works. The group began planning their first exhibition separate from the Salon.
The effects of the Franco-Prussian war rippled throughout France years after it ended in 1871. The government saw the need to rebuild France and sought to start by rebuilding the hopes of the people in government through art. The Salon became the outlet for patriotic and rebuilding themes since it was a State-sponsored gallery. Many critics became aware of the problems with this and spoke out on the lack of “genius” coming from French artists of that time. One critic, Charles Blanc, compared the...