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In the mid-nineteenth century, an original style of art came about that would help to define the art of that era. This was known as impressionism, a style that had artists making tiny dashes of color on canvases and using fast brushstrokes. They took into account the way that the sunlight influenced what was in the scene in order to express a fleeting moment in time beautifully. Instead of focusing on details in the picture, the art of this style has imprecise lines, creating a candid and realistic glimpse into a setting, making the viewer feel as if they are actually looking at a snapshot of the scene. The Impressionist period was highly inspired by the Romantic and Realist styles of the previous era, the emerging of photography, and Japanese prints. Romanticism used emotion to display exciting topics and Realism accurately presented subject matter from one’s daily life. Impressionism took the ideas of these two styles and pushed both the passionate and realistic approaches of both to create their works. In addition to this, at the time, photography was a new and exciting way to capture a moment. It allowed people to be expressed realistically in photographs in lighting and angles that were not typical of art in the past. Furthermore, Japanese prints of sceneries showed snippets places in a truthful way. Both of these kinds of art encouraged the Impressionists to utilize their ideas and create art that made viewers feel as if they were looking at a photograph of people.
Some of the most memorable artists and artwork of all time came out of the Impressionist period. Claude Monet painted the same subject several times in different lightings, such as cathedrals, haystacks, gardens, and ponds. These works beautifully show the way that natural light can influence the objects in and mood of a scene. Auguste Rodin was another artist who worked in this style; however, he did so in sculptures. He expressed the emotions of the subjects he was sculpting by making the surfaces rough by incorporating scraps of clay and wax to his works. Another important artist of the period was Pierre Auguste Renoir, a painter that applied the Impressionist goals and techniques to show jubilant scenes people surrounded by the natural light of the sun. Almost every period of art influences the upcoming era, as well as generations to come. Impressionism is no exception to this effect. The idea of trying to capture what someone would look at in a single instant in time in a piece of art was a new concept in Europe at the time. It was looked down upon when it first emerged, but would soon change the way that people viewed, valued, and created art for years to come. It directly led to the art of the Post-Impressionist period, which then led to periods such as Expressionism and Cubism. Later, this influenced modern art styles, like Pop art and Photo-Realism, which have been popular in recent years. Impressionism has a lasting impact on art and continues to encourage artists today. The Impressionist period may not have had respect from critics when it first surfaced. However, it ended up giving the world some of the most iconic artwork of the nineteenth century – timeless artworks that still move and inspire people now. From it arose great painters such as Monet, Degas, and Cassatt, and magnificent paintings like “The Water Lily Pond”, “The Glass of Absinthe”, and “The Boating Party”. It highlighted the beauty of a raw, frozen moment in time and the way that nature can greatly affect the mood of a scene. Most importantly, it changed the way that people view and create art, showing the public that the beauty of relaxed and natural settings was worthy of being replicated in artworks.
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