Impressionism was one of the most important art movements in the 19th century that began when a certain section of artists from Paris began a public display of their art. This name was coined after the famous painting of Claude Monet. In the late mid-19th century, artists such as Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir began painting in a new style, which was later coined Impressionism. Monet named his painting of a harbor at dawn as Impression: Sunrise. This term was also used by a critic Louis Leroy in a satirical article in Le Charivari to describe the Paris-based artists.
Impressionist paintings have distinct characteristics such as light colors, visible brushstrokes, and open composition. Impressionist painters lay a lot of emphasis on the light and its variations. Generally, the subject used for impressionist paintings can be very common. Impressionist painters paint in short and thick strokes to produce the desired effect. The focus is more on the essence of the subject instead of the details.
Impressionist painters usually work outdoors to be in close proximity with nature. While painting landscapes and other outdoor scenes, they work for a short period of time. When the light changes, they discontinue painting and come back again the next day at the same time. Impressionist artists usually paint rapidly to capture the effects of changing light.
The works of Impressionist artists were contemporary and often involved modern subjects. Impressionist painters utilized raw and unmixed paints. They followed their impulse while selecting a particular subject. They depicted ordinary surroundings in their paintings and used techniques such as uneven colors, shadows, and varying light. Some painters even painted the same subject several times in a day to demonstrate the effects of changing lights.
Broken brush strokes create a variety of textures, which look very natural and appealing. Impressionist paintings look bright and radiant as many painters avoid the use of earth and black colors. The colors are usually unmixed to give the paintings a natural look.
Some of the most popular Impressionist artists are Claude Monet, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley, and Edgar Degas. They have produced some of the finest impressionist paintings.