Impressionism is one of the most prominent and celebrated art movements in history. The most important figure in this period is the man who coined the term itself, Claude Monet with his art work ‘Impression, soleil levant’ 1872. This work would be the beginning of some of the most iconic art works in history by Monet. His style formed the Impressionist style, with small, thin brush strokes which captured the essence of movement in the picture and an open composition, an emphasis on light and the reflection of light with an ordinary or common subject matter. Before impressionists took over the art world, still lives and outdoor scenes were painted in studios, the impressionists started controversy by painting outdoors by using premixed paint in lead tubes and therefore adding an element of freedom to their work.

Following in Monet’s footsteps were artists including, Manet, Mary Cassatt, Frédéric Bazille, and Edgar Degas who have created some of the best known art works in history. Edgar Degas is particularly important as he rejected the term Impressionism and regarded himself to be a Realist and chose to paint indoor images instead of outdoor scenes.

Society at the time had already under gone huge changes in politics and society and therefore were not accepting of the Monet’s change to the art world at first, however, as the public witnessed more of his incredible works, they believed that Monet and other artists such as Sisley and Cézanne had created a fresh and exciting new aspect which deserved celebrating.

With the invention of photography, Impressionists were threatened by the camera, however they prided themselves on how their work emphasises the character and subject by experimenting with detail and colours, rather than taking an exact copy of what is in front of the lense. They’re quality of painting is proved today that even with all the inventions of technology, they’re work is still celebrated and iconic to society.

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Written by Felicity Jones

Felicity Jones, studying Literature at Portsmouth University, with a passion for all things art and fashion, writer/reader/ editor/ artist/ dedicated shopper. Felicity looks after the Catwalk Yourself Art Dictionary.

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