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Impressionism is an art movement that developed in France in the 19th century. It was pioneered by painters such as Claude Monet. It surfaced through independent art exhibitions, and was at first harshly criticized as merely being an incomplete sketch, or “impression” of the image. Characteristically, impressionist art features short, broken brush strokes of bright colors that do not convey the forms in the painting to a great extent. It does NOT depict realistic figures. Light is emphasized, and is a tool used by many impressionist artists, as well as unconventional points of view, and emphasized movement. When looking up close at an impressionist painting, it is difficult to depict the form from the individual brush strokes, but when viewed from farther away, the impression the painting is going for is likely clearly visible. Paintings usually depict real life situations.
This painting is considered one of the first impressionist paintings. In fact, it is where the name “Impressionism” came from. It came from both the title, and from the art critic who satirized it, who coined the term to describe it jokingly. It uses bright colors, with short brush strokes making the painting’s unrealistic figures visible. It has a clear light source (the Sun), with light radiating from it, in brighter colors than is used to represent it in other art movements, such as realism.
In this painting, bright colors represent field and sky surrounding the woman. Unlike previous art movements, shadows are represented with blues and whites, rather than greys and blacks. The woman does not look realistic, nor do her surroundings. In fact, it would likely be difficult to decipher this painting while looking at it up close, while we can clearly see its subject from far away. There is a lot of movement in this painting. You can practically feel the clouds swirling around this woman, and the wind blowing the flowers at her feet.
This painting uses bright colors and lots of movement to depict a busy Parisian street. The sky is beautifully painted, with light radiating onto the boulevard below. People are painted in more of a “stroky,” not detailed manner. However, from farther away, we can clearly see the depiction Pissarro is making.
This painting uses thin, broken brushstrokes to depict a haystack. The background cannot easily be depicted, but the haystack in the foreground is clear from far away. The light of sunset radiates in oranges and reds from behind the stack, which is painted in more shades of red, orange, and even blue. The shadows are blues and purples, rather than greys and blacks.
In this painting, thin brush strokes depict an unrealistic woman, seemingly bored. Her dress is a bright yellow, with blues and greens added for detail. It is an incredibly colorful painting. I think that it is interesting how all of the brush strokes are in a diagonal direction towards the top right corner.
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