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Impressionism (Art)

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Definition: IMPRESSIONISM from

Dictionary of Visual Discourse: A Dialectical Lexicon of Terms

An important movement in French, and latterly modern, art in the late nineteenth century. Impressionism rejected the ‘salon’ art of the establishment and committed itself to the pictorial depiction of immediate impressions in all their evanescence and luminosity (hence the description of ‘plein air’ painting). Of all the avant-gardes, Impressionism is the first to explicitly address the problem of representing the fleeting effects of light (the great exponents being Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, Berthe Morisot, Camille Pissarro and Georges Seurat). Its musical parallel is best represented by the ‘tone paintings’ of Claude Debussy (1862-1918).

Summary Article: Impressionism from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide
Movement in painting that originated in France in the 1860s and had enormous influence in European and North American painting in the late 19th century. The Impressionists wanted to depict real life, to paint straight from nature, and to capture the changing effects of light. The term was first used abusively to describe Claude Monet's painting Impression: Sunrise (1872). The other leading Impressionists included Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Alfred Sisley, but only Monet remained devoted to Impressionist ideas throughout his career. The core of the Impressionist group was formed in the early 1860s by Monet, Renoir, and Sisley, who met as students and enjoyed painting in the open air – one of...    Continue Reading

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