What is a good definition of impressionism?

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knobles78's profile pic

knobles78 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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    Impressionism began as an attempt to capture a fleeting moment in time.  Impressionsim also became the name of an art movement associated with the later part of the 19th Century.  Leading artists such as Claude Monet challenged the traditional, "studio," style of painting.  They abandoned their studios and looked to nature for inspiration.  Monet often painted the same subject at different times of the day to show how a change in lighting affects the subject.  An exciting example of this experiment is his Rouen Cathedral series.  Typical Impressionist paintings appear choppy and blurry up close.  As the viewer moves farther back, the image comes into focus.  The effects of changing light are evident in the use of multiple shades of color.  Though Monet is considered a leading figure of the Impressionist movement, many other artists worked in this style.  Some other artists to check out are: Camille Pissarro, August Renoir, Edouard Manet, Berthe Morisot, and Mary Cassatt.  As history often tells us, the Impressionists were not well received during the beginnings of the career.  The determined nature eventually won out, and their mark on the art world still inspires artists today.

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rachaely123's profile pic

rachaely123 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) eNoter

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This might be a good definition of "impressionism."

The school or movement in painting that began in France in the
1860s and was named after a Monet canvas titled Impression: soleil levant. This painting was displayed in 1874 at the first exhibition of a group of painters that also included Degas, Pissarro, Sisley, Renoir, and Cézanne. Emphasizing the fluidity and transience of our experience of the visible world, the movement aimed to represent the partly subjective aspect of seeing and knowing.

Impressionism influenced every significant later development in 20th-century visual art. The group’s last exhibition in 1886 saw the debut of Seurat and what came to be called Neoimpressionism. Through the example of van Gogh, the movement influenced Expressionism; in the work of Cézanne, it inspired Cubism; in the later paintings of Monet, Impressionism itself moved toward
forms of abstraction that exerted a central influence on the Abstract
Expressionism of the 1950s. The movement’s impact on Modern literature was also profound. Joseph Conrad called himself an Impressionist; Virginia Woolf was steeped in the work and aesthetic principles of Cézanne.

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Jyotsana's profile pic

Jyotsana | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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A impressionism is a literary or artistic style that seeks to capture a feeling or experience rather than to achieve accurate depiction.   

synysterelite's profile pic

synysterelite | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

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  • Relatively small, thin, yet visible brush strokes
  • Open composition
  • Emphasis on accurate depiction of light in its changing qualities (often accentuating the effects of the passage of time)
  • Common, ordinary subject matter
  • Inclusion of movement as a crucial element of human perception and experience
  • Unusual visual angles
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