The French Impressionists Essay

1632 words - 7 pages

The Impressionists

Artists, as creative critics of their time, employ art as a form of visual expression to meditate, reflect and interpret their perspectives on subjects like: society, culture, and movements of change. As a result there is a symbiotic relationship between the creator and his/her environment. A prime example of this can be seen in mid to late 19th century Paris; a time when innovation, culture and technology were at the forefront of a rapidly growing city. Artists like Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas and Pierre-Auguste Renoir responded to the influx of development by communicating their interpretations through a style unrecognised by the art scene of their era due to their organic and expressive characteristics as opposed to the norms and expectations of traditional visual art. Through their hardships the works of these artists not only served as a stepping stone for new generations of artistic development but, in their own right, revolutionised the art scene of their time.

The late 19th century was characterised by a strong mix of both tradition and innovation. Although many social ideals and formalities had relaxed, the art scene still preserved its conservative view of regulations within art itself. Some of these ideas included the idea of perfectly blended brushstrokes, grand depictions of biblical narratives and mythology as well as perfectly placed still life. “Salon de Paris” a annual art show held in the “Academie des Bueax Arts”, was the epitome of this conservative philosophy. Manet one of the the founders of the Impressionistic art movement, was rejected when he tried to enter with the piece “The Luncheon On the Grass” simply because it featured nudes in an ordinary scene which was considered too risqué and therefore forbidden. In an effort to exhibit their works to the general public, a group of French artists under the name of “the Anonymous Society of Painters, Sculptors, and Engravers” made the radical decision to host their very own art show. To many art critics, the paintings simply looked unfinished and unrefined with a member of public even stating that the artists were just “a bunch of lunatics and a woman” instantly outcasting they society as an outcast to the rest of the traditional art world.

However, this wasn’t the first time that an art movement in Paris tried to challenge the preconceived notions of art making. The Realists, were a group of artists active during the mid 19th century who rejected the melodramatic exoticisms of the Romantic era and instead chose to depict truthfully what occurred around them without exaggeration. It is obvious that Impressionism clearly took influence from its predecessor: Realism, as both focused on the desire to bring everyday life into art and rejected the conceits of idealism. Although Impressionism moved away from traditional painting techniques which were still apparent in Realism. Edgar Degas, as one of the early founders of Impressionism, painted in a style...

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