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Impressionism: Edgar Degas, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet

1508 words - 6 pages

Within the medium of painting, many millennia of two-dimensional representations have recorded the thoughts and history of those who are creative and those who desired history to be recorded in the image they decided fit. The boundaries that separate painting into defined movements can be vague because they represent the works of a culture such as Greece or as well-defined and distinct as some movements were dictated by churches, governments, and other bodies of influence. Impressionism is a movement composed of works from a culture where the enlightenment of the masses caused “a group of artists who shared a set of related approaches and techniques” ("Impressionism,") to emerge and coalesce into a new school of thought. This paper will examine the works of three artist who painted with the Impressionist style; Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Claude Monet. These renowned Impressionists may have had common influences and beginnings, yet these artists differentiate from one another via their unique styles of expression.
Impressionism began in the late 19th century as a result of friendships cultivated in Paris France at Café Guerbois amongst four students of Marc Gleyre including Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, and Frédéric Bazille with other Parisian artists such as Edgar Degas and Edouard Manet ("Impressionism,"). Their collective style was largely characterized by their attempts “to depict transitory visual impressions, often painted directly from nature, and by the use of pure, broken color to achieve brilliance and luminosity.” ("Impressionism,") Those considered to be part of the Impressionist movement were involved for varied portions of their artistic careers for the exhibition purposes rather than to adhere to collective ideals. The movement could be considered more of a rebellion in that “the painters repudiated academic standards and reacted against the romantics' emphasis on emotion as subject matter” ("Impressionism,") and that the group organized an exhibition as a result of being “the right to show in the Salon of 1873” (Preble, Frank, & Preble, 2008). The name Impressionism spawned from the derogatory comments of a critic referring to “the sketchy quality of their paintings” (Preble, Frank, & Preble, 2008) originating from the name of Monet’s Impression: Sunrise (Preble, Frank, & Preble, 2008). These artists “learned that we see light as a complex of reflections received by the eye and reassembled by the mind during the process of inception” (Preble, Frank, & Preble, 2008). Their techniques of applying this observation of physics included using tiny strokes of paint that appear distinct upon close inspection, yet blend into “lively depictions of subjects” (Preble, Frank, & Preble, 2008) when observed at greater distance.
The Ballet Class (viewable at is an oil painting on a 32 1/8 inch by 30 ¼ inch canvas circa 1879-1880 by Edgar...

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