What ‘Impressionism’ Means

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What impressionism is: A blog to help explain what impressionism is to the average reader.

What impressionism is NOT: An explanation of how impressionism is used in art. Please see Wikipedia for that explanation. If you are interested in how impressionism is used in art, please see Wikipedia for a discussion of impressionism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impressionism . This site is about what “impressionism” means.

I’ve been asked on several occasions to define “impressionist” painting or art and I’ve tried to find a site that does it, but I cannot find any that do it well — they either give way too much detail (which just confuses most people) or they go into too much detail about artistic techniques and styles which don’t really pertain to the definition of “impressionist”.

For the purposes of this blog, “impressionist” means a tendency or style in art, not a time period or place. Impressionism is a movement in art that developed around the 1860s and 1870s in France. The best way I’ve found to explain it is that it was an intentional style of painting that attempted to capture the essence of things as seen through the eyes, through light

This blog is intended to fill the gap of information on impressionism. It will help readers understand what impressionism is and how it has affected the art world.

One of the most direct ways to learn about impressionism is to read about it, but most books and articles on the subject are not written for the average reader. Most assume that those reading have a good understanding of art history, and will quickly gloss over decades-long periods, using such words as “Impressionism” and “Post-Impressionism” without explaining them in their first use. This blog will provide information in an easy-to-digest format, while still being informative to readers with a good knowledge of art history.

And, as I’m writing this I haven’t even painted a picture yet. I just hope that I can teach people enough about impressionism so that they can evaluate my work when it comes out.

Impressionism is an art movement that took place in France during the late 1800s. The main idea of impressionism was to create art that gave the viewer an “impression” of what the artist was portraying. It was not about creating a technically correct or realistic painting, but rather about conveying the emotion that the artist was feeling when he/she painted it.

Waiting by Edouard Manet (1870-1872) is an example of Impressionist painting because it captures the emotion and movement in everyday life. The colors are bold and bright, and there is little detail. The man standing in the foreground has a very neutral expression on his face suggesting he is bored with waiting. Even though nothing really looks “real” in this painting, it still gives you an impression of what it must be like to be waiting for a train in a station like this one.�

“What is Impressionism?” is a common question. The answer is complex because impressionism is a complex, multi-faceted art movement. People ask “what is impressionism?” because they want to know what the painters were trying to achieve.

The term was coined in the late 19th century by French art critics who used it to describe the style of paintings being created by artists such as Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro.

When you hear the word “impressionism” it’s easy to think that it’s referring to just one aspect of these paintings. An impressionist painting could be characterized by any or all of the following:

* A general lack of detail in the subject matter

* Not trying to represent the subject in a realistic manner

* Large, splattered brush strokes

* Use of color to produce an emotional impact instead of accurately depicting the colors in nature

This list isn’t meant as a definition for impressionism, but rather as a way of explaining how people arrived at defining impressionism in this way. These are some of its characteristics, but hardly all-encompassing. There are many other things that can be said about impressionism, but should be left for another day.*


The term Impressionism is commonly used to refer to a group of French painters that emerged in the late 19th century. The group as a whole is also referred to with the term “Impressionists” or “Impressionist painters”. Impressionist artists expressed themselves differently from other artists of the time, and they painted objects in their everyday surroundings rather than idealized or classical scenes.

Impressionist paintings often depict light and color more than detailed descriptions of objects. The impressionist movement was highly controversial at the time it appeared because it challenged the traditional styles of art. Today, impressionist art still challenges viewers and inspires debate about whether it is a legitimate form of art, but most people agree that it does have its place in the history of painting.

Newspapers and magazines often use Impressionism to describe quick or incomplete work done by any artist. This technique can be seen in reports on budget cuts made by governments and business publications such as Forbes that use this term to describe fluctuations in stock prices.*

The word ‘impressionism’ was first used by art critics to describe a style of painting developed in the mid-to-late 19th century. In 1874, arts critic Louis Leroy wrote that the Impressionists “impress on your eye one single sensation: that of light.” Leroy suggested that this approach was a reaction against the “traditional” way of painting, where the artist would use several techniques to create an artistic work.

Towards the end of the 19th century, impressionism had become so popular that it began to influence other forms of art. The term is now often used more generally to refer to any painting that captures an image in a short period of time.

What is Impressionism?

Impressionism is a style of painting that was first found in the art world around the early 1890s. The name Impressionism comes from one of its most distinct conventions, which is that the artist must create an impact on the viewer with their work. This was usually done by painting with a loose brushstroke and using broken colors to capture light and motion, rather than focusing on creating an accurate illustration as in realistic paintings.

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