The Birth Of Impressionism Essay

1070 words - 4 pages

Impressionism is a style of art that developed in France in the 1870's. This style of art began when four students of the painter Marc Gleyre started getting together, and questioning the traditional rules of art. These four students were Manet, Renoir, Sisley, and Bazille.Since 1648 the rules of art had been set by the French Academy of Fine Arts. The Academy did not consider paintings of everyday events to be art. They emphasized paintings that taught ethical or moral lessons through historic, mythological, or Biblical themes. When objects were being painted they often favored idealizing them to be more appealing to the eye. The rules that were accepted by the Academy for style were: symmetrical compositions, hard outlines, and smooth paint surfaces. When the four art students started meeting in cafés to share their ideas of what classifies art as art and why, their group grew to include men like Cezanne, Pissarro, Morisot, Degas, and Monet. These men did not think art had to have to follow rules to be considered art. They later came up with the conclusion that for a painting to be classified as art it only needed to be painted on top of canvas. The style or subject matter of the painting made no difference.These artists, who in their own time were known as Independents and would later be known as Impressionist artists, didn't like the idea of having to use your imagination to understand a painting. For example, they did not agree with the Academy rule that if a nude woman was in a painting and was being used as an allegory to represent a muse or idea then it was high art, but just a naked women in a painting that did not represent anything, that was trash and scandalous. The future impressionists were more realistic. An image meant exactly what it was. For example, an apple was an apple; it had no other hidden symbolic meanings. They didn't like the fact that the same image could be accepted as art in one sense but not another.Another rule they questioned and broke was the types of events they painted. They chose to paint everyday events and were very focused on realism. They were trying to capture moments that happened in everyday life because this was the type of things that they were seeing and experiencing. The French Academy could not see the importance of spending so much time on making a painting of such an unimportant event as a simple moment in time.In addition to the subject matter being drastically different, the style in which they painted also broke the Academy's rules. Instead of having smooth, defined outlines and even color applications, Impressionists were known for short, broken brush strokes of pure un-tinted colors. This effect gave the picture a more abstract look as opposed to the traditional realistic smooth look. The reason Impressionists painted like this is because they were trying to capture realistic light, movement, and even sound to give the feel of what ever is going on in the painting was going on right...

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