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left-to-right, top-to-bottom: Impression, Sunrise by Claude Monet, Bal du moulin de la Galette by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, La Récolte des Foins, Eragny by Camille Pissarro, Basket of Apples by Paul Cézanne, The Star by Edgar Degas, Tea by Berthe Morisot

"Impressionism; it is the birth of Light in painting."
Robert Delaunay

The one that started Modern Art.

The original impressionists — Claude Monet, Auguste Rodin, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, and Paul Cézanne — made their official debut at the Rue du Capucines in Paris in 1874, the style's name being coined from the Monet submission Impression, Sunrise in what was originally a negative review. The public, critics and traditional painters and sculptors were not very receptive to any of it, seeing these artists as a group of undisciplined amateurs calling themselves masters with the era-equivalent of making fridge-drawings and calling it "Museum-worthy", but there has never been an art movement without its detractors.

The Impressionists made history by breaking a lot of artistic traditions and standards. First of all, art was no longer a tool used to glorify the powerful and the fantastic. Art was a tool of institutions and the aristocracy, used to depict kings and Christ as these great, immortal paragons. With paints becoming more easily available to the lower classes, the Impressionists saw a sense of beauty in the common man. Landscapes of beaches and meadows, portraits of everyday people at leisure, things people could relate to.

Secondly, they actually left the studio. Thanks to innovations like bright new pigments stored in metal tubes, they carried all of their paints and chemicals and easels on location and painted what was in front of them. The tides didn't stop for Canute and the world wouldn't stop for anyone else either, so these painters and sculptors had to work fast. This resulted in fast brush strokes and a laissez-faire application of the Elements and Principles of Art. The invention of photography had made the idea of capturing reality feel redundant, so they had taken the subjective philosophy of the Romantics and ran with it.

One cannot deny the kind of effect the Impressionist movement had on the art world. Other art movements took the Deconstruction Impressionism had on the craft and pushed it further, Neo-Impressionism, Post-Impressionism and the countless variations of Expressionism and Anti-Art eventually paving the way for Modern and Contemporary Art.

The term has also been used to describe certain musical compositions by various French composers such as Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel (though neither composer embraced the label for their work). Such music tends to have a lush and understated feel, colorful sonic profile, and triadic if not always traditionally tonal harmonic language.

Notable Art pieces included:

  • Édouard Manet:
    • Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe: It captures a Slice of Life scene — the characters are merely having a picnic. It also disrupts two Elements of art: the scenery's textures are left purposefully in poor detail and the perspective (aka, space) is wrong, giving the impression of an absence of separation between the forefront and the background.
    • Olympia: Its Main Character is neither a noblewoman nor a deity. This has the implication of Olympia's nudity being for titillation instead of an idealization of the subject. Moreover, the painting has borders, as if it was a half-painted sketch. It also gives her a sort of cartoonish look. This is the complete opposite of how Neoclassicism and Academicism draw people.

Notable Artists included:

  • Frédéric Bazille
  • Eugene Boudin
  • Gustave Caillebotte
  • Mary Cassatt
  • Paul Cézanne
  • Edgar Degas
  • Childe Hassam
  • Edward Hopper
  • Konstantin Korovin
  • Peder Severin Kroyer
  • Isaac Levitan
  • Max Liebermann
  • Juan Luna
  • Édouard Manet
  • Henri Matisse
  • Piet Mondrian
  • Claude Monet
  • Berthe Morisot
  • Camille Pissarro
  • Pierre-Auguste Renoir
  • Auguste Rodin
  • John Singer Sargent
  • Alfred Sisley
  • Joaquin Sorolla
  • Eliseu Visconti
  • Anders Zorn