what is impressionism

The forerunner of the changes was the French painter Claude Monet , with the term impressionism referring to his work “ Impression, Rising Sun ” ( Impression du Soleil Levant , 1872). His work Terraço, from 1866, is also seen as one of the first landmarks of the impressionist school.

It is said that Impressionism originated modern art, as the works conveyed feelings of joy and harmony, along with the contrasts, lights and clarity of colors. They conveyed the idea of ​​a blurred effect to convey the idea that the movement being portrayed in the work was completely fleeting – which generated a lot of controversy at the time, since many did not see it as a “real” work.

These are some of the artists who stood out in the period of Impressionism, in addition to Claude Monet:

Paul Cezanne ,

Edouard Manet ,

Edgar Degas ,

Pierre-Auguste Renoir ,

Alfred Sisley ,

Camille Pissarro .

characteristics of impressionism

The style of the Impressionist movement is full of outstanding features. Are they:

break with the past,

Enhancement of natural light,

Use of colorful and luminous shadows,

Use of decomposed and primary colors,

Application of the law of complementary colors,

Paintings made outdoors and not in studios,

Highlight for paintings of landscapes and themes related to nature,

There is a mixture of colors not through technique, but through optical illusion. That is, it is the use of juxtaposed primary pigments and not mixing to make new tones,

Focus of optical effects (illusions),

Drawings without clear contours – these are formed by smudges.

Impressionism did not last long – 1886 may be the year considered as the end of this artistic school. However, the works produced in such a short period ended up becoming valuable, with many of them becoming the most expensive works in the world.

One example is Renoir’s Ball at the Moulin de la Galette , which went for a price of $78.1 million.l

Impressionist in Literature and Music

Impressionism lent many principles to other arts, such as literature and music, not even reaching the feet of what happened in the plastic arts, obviously, but it deserves comments.

In Literature, Impressionism was notable for its use of exact language, which was based on scientific thinking that aimed to narrate events of everyday reality. Other subjects were also addressed by the impressionists, such as eroticism, frustration, death, the tiredness of life and the lack of communication.

Some authors stand out who used the characteristic of valuing the vision of the present (the description of the colors and tones of the landscapes), with the use of metaphors to talk about emotions and feelings, they are:

Marcel Proust

Raul Pompeia ,

Eça de Queirós

Euclides da Cunha .

In music, Impressionism brought innovative sounds in the technical and musical field itself. Highlights of the period include the piano work of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel. The impressionist style in music aimed to highlight feelings, impressions and moods through tonal colors and harmonies, based on insinuation.


Post-impressionism emerged between the last years of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, which, based on the impressionist model, presented a series of styles, techniques and artistic trends that aimed to improve Impressionism, that is, to give it a new concept.

Many of the artists of this post-impressionism movement began their careers as impressionists, but soon redefined themselves with other experiences and characteristics of other styles, seeking patterns different from those that form the “soul” of Impressionism.

This group of painters began to use more visible shapes and contours in their works. The image that was portrayed was no longer fleeting – it conveyed a more static effect when compared to the images of early impressionist works.

Post-impressionism valued vivid color in the execution of works and two-dimensionality.

Soon, many styles emerged from the original Impressionism revolution, such as Cubism, Expressionism, Fauvism and Pointillism (the latter being a neo- impressionist style ).

Impressionism in Brazil

Impressionism came to exist in Rio de Janeiro in the decade following its emergence in France. At the end of the 19th century, the term impressionist was already used by the local press for certain Brazilian painters.

Eliseu Visconti is considered the pioneer of the impressionist style in Brazil, being one of the most expressive names until today when approaching this artistic movement. Visconti traveled to France and witnessed rapid outdoor landscape painting and returned to Brazil already understanding the impressionist technique.

Visconti was already dubbed an impressionist by the Brazilian press in 1898, practicing Impressionism later with other artists, such as:

Almeida Junior,

Artur Timoteo da Costa,

Henry Knight,

Vincent do Rego Monteiro,

Mario Navarro da Costa,

Alfred Andersen.

what is impressionism

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