A French painter and graphic artist, Edgar Degas (1834–1917) was one of the leading members of the Impressionist circle.
Visual & Decorative Arts Blog
Claude Monet (1840–1926) transformed French painting in the late nineteenth century. The term 'Impressionism' was taken from his painting Impression Sunrise (1872), which was exhibited in 1874, in the first of Monet's independent exhibitions that would give rise to the Impressionism movement. Throughout his long and successful career Monet became a master of colour and light; exploring the countryside, painting en plein air and capturing landscapes of Paris and Normandy and the beautiful water lilies and flowers in his own garden at Giverny.
Inspired by the RA’s new exhibition on Painting the Modern Garden, of which Monet’s stunning Garden of Giverny paintings are a big part, this blog takes a look at one of the most popular art movements: Impressionism. We put it into context – with a brief look first at Realism in France, and its move away from classical art; as well as an exploration into how it formed the roots of Post-Impressionism.
Impressionism emerged during the second half of the nineteenth century, at a time when the Académie des Beaux-Arts was largely in charge of what French art, its content and its style should look like. The Académie favoured traditional values and conventions and they were quick to dismiss Impressionist painters' work because of the latters' disinterest for realism and detailed accuracy. Monet, Renoir and company are known to have taken more interest in perception than description. They preferred landscapes to historical scenes and contemporary life to mythology. Among the Impressionists' most recurrent subjects is the female form, which we will be taking a closer look at in today's blog.