What is Impressionism? Who are the main painters?

O que é o Impressionismo? Quais são os principais pintores?
Impressionism, the art movement

The early Impressionists amazed art lovers by going against the grain of the rules of academic painting. Following the example of painters such as Eugène Delacroix and JMW Turner, the Impressionists created paintings where color took precedence over lines and contours. The free brushstrokes of artists such as Claude Monet or Edgar Degas have changed the history of art since then. Discover the fantastic history of this movement that changed our view on the principles of art.

What is impressionism?
In the 19th century, the Impressionists developed a new technique, in which they painted spontaneous compositions. This was only possible thanks to the development of portable ink tubes — the ones we currently know and are familiar with. They were thus able to leave the studio and get closer to the reality of the subject they were painting. Monet 's paintings and the other Impressionists recreated in their paintings the sensations of their vision of the seen landscape, quickly, immediately and full of movement. Instead of meticulously outlining the details of the “landscape”, these compositions valued the play of color and light in order to express the sensations of the present. This movement gave wings to later ones, such as Neo-Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Fauvism, Cubism, among others. Meet five key artists for this revolutionary aesthetic.

1. Claude Monet
Famous French painter and founder of the Impressionist movement, along with his friends Renoir, Sisley and Bazille. Monet rejected the traditional approach to landscape painting when creating pieces of art by observing the variations in color and light caused by daily or seasonal changes. It was on the beaches of Normandy, around 1856 and 1857, that he met Eugéne Boudin who taught him how to use oil paints and the "en plein air" technique for painting. During his long career, he was consistent and prolific in the Impressionist philosophy of expressing his perceptions of nature, especially on the application of landscape painting to the open air. The term "Impressionism" is derived from the title of his painting Impression, soleil levant, displayed at the 1874 Salon des Refusés (this salon of the refused was created by Monet and his associates as an alternative to the Salon). “Reflections of Clouds on the Water-Lily Pond”, “Woman with a Parasol”, “Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies”, “Water Lilies” are some of the most popular works by the French painter.

Monet | Magazine | P55.ART

2. Paul Cezanne
He was a French artist who established the connection between late 19th century Impressionism and the new line of artistic investigation of the early 20th century, namely Cubism. George Braque and Picasso were inspired by the works of Paul Cézanne, in the conception of Cubism, stating that " Paul Cézanne is the father of us all ". His paintings and drawings are clearly recognizable, due to the composition elaborated with repetitive and sensitive brush strokes, full of color planes that directly express the sensations of what he observed. His works are thus a practically abstract construction of observed nature that reflect on the complexity of human visual perception.“The Large Bathers”, “A Modern Olympia”, “The Basket of Apples” and “Château Noirsão” are some of the most popular works of the French painter.

Paul Cezanne | P55 Magazine | P55.ART

3. Édouard Manet
French painter who was known for challenging traditional techniques of representation with his paintings, full of quick and intense brushstrokes, which portrayed the environment and events that surrounded him (bourgeois life). The choice of this theme was not usual at the time, so it came as a shock. The next generation was influenced by these works, thus establishing a new movement: realism. "Olympia", "The Luncheon on the Grass'', "The Balcony" and "A Bar at the Folies-Bergère" are some of the French painter's most popular works.

Édouard Manet | P55 Magazine | P55.ART

4. Edgar Degas
Painter of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with strong links to the Impressionist movement, although he rejected this association. In his works, he explored various technical processes and represented objects through their pictorial qualities, leaving aside the faithful portrait, which until then was essential in painting. His best-known pieces are those depicting ballerinas, but his production also includes self-portraits and portraits by other artists, such as Manet, Tissot, or Mary Cassatt. He was mainly known for painting, although he also produced sculptural works and became interested in photography.

Edgar Degas | P55 Magazine | P55.ART

5. Pierre-Auguste Renoir
He was one of the central figures of the Impressionist movement, breaking with pictorial traditions, with his paintings full of vivid colors that represented the first impression of an object. In the summer of 1869, Renoir painted for two months alongside Monet at La Grenouillère, a nautical establishment and spa on the outskirts of Paris. Here they developed the Impressionist aesthetic, with a painting technique characterized by wide, loose brushstrokes and a vivid palette that captured the effects of the sun flowing through the trees into the rippling water. In addition to these beautiful landscapes, Renoir became famous for his sensual nudes and charming scenes with beautiful women ("Les Grandes Baigneuses", "Reclining Nude from the Back, Rest after the Bath", "The Judgment of Paris").

Renoir | P55 Magazine | P55.ART

Discover more about the artistic currents of the 20th century:
What is Cubism? Where did Cubism come from? What were the main works and artists?
What is Abstractionism? Where did it come from?
The surrealist Salvador Dali
What is a Still Life? 5 Impressive Works of Art

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