Impressionism is an art movement that began in Paris in the 1860s. It is named from the title of a work by Monet called “Impression, Sunrise”. Impressionism is characterized by unusual visual angles and visible brush strokes that often “blur” the image which allows for an emphasis on light and the inclusion of movement in the painting itself. It avoids "exactitude" in form. In many ways, impressionism was a rebellion against social standards. The Academie des Beaux Arts had dominated art in France in the 19th century. It upheld traditional standards of painting, including historical and religious themes and subjects and subdued coloring. Not only did the impressionists pay more attention to color than form, but they often painted outside, choosing to paint realistic scenes of modern life. They were influenced by Eugene Delacroix, a French Romantic painter who also championed the use of color. Impressionism didn’t really take off until the artists united, however. Monet, Renoir, Manet – among others – had been rejected from the art shows because they weren’t working in the approved style. They got together and held their own exhibit. Although the critical reception was mixed, the movement became a public favorite.
Impressionism helped to span a number of different movements in painting worldwide, including Fauvism and Cubism.