Friday, May 25, 2012

The Impressionists - the biggest painting movement in Western History

The Impressionist movement of the mid-1800s marks major changes in Western Painting forever: 


 - Paint in a tube was invented and available to buy! For the first time, painters could throw their pre-made paints in a box and go outside to paint directly from nature.

- Light, color, & optics became serious studies on the scientific front - perceptions about color expanded!

- Japan opened it’s mysterious harbors for international trade - Japanese prints became very popular, bringing exotic, new ideas about composition and flat color fields.

- The camera was invented! Suddenly, artists were no longer needed to capture realistic portraits of powerful people - so now what will they paint?

All this invention, exploration, and exotic influence, combined with political changes favoring the middle-classes,  is immediately evident in Impressionist paintings:


            ~ A brush loaded with several unmixed colors dots chunks of light atop breezy trees, rendered fast and fresh en plein-air.
 
            ~ A crazy cacophony of unnatural colors fades into a misty purple morning sunrise as you step away and squint a bit...

            ~ Dancers adjust their shoes backstage, ladies try on hats way off center of the canvas...   

What’s your favorite thing about the Impressionist era of painting? 

Study of Renoir's Still-Life with Peaches

 
Study of one of Degas' dancers

 Study of Morisot's view from a cottage

 Study of Bazille's Young Woman with Eyes Shut

Bazille looks a lot like Manet, the "father" of Impressionism - he still uses lots of browns and dark shadows, but his subjects might challenge the traditional art audience of the day, and later his work had more color variety.

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