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Monet Waterlilies
Impression, Sunrise by Monet, Impressionism starting painting.

Impressionism was an artistic movement of the late nineteenth century that began in Paris. The term was coined by French critic Louis Leroy in 1874. [1] In total, between 1874 and 1882, the Impressionists staged seven exhibitions, all in Paris. [1]

Impressionism is characterized by the use of unmixed primary colors and small strokes to simulate actual reflected light. Impressionist painters attempted to accurately and objectively record visual reality in terms of transient effects of light and color. [2] If you were to look closely at an impressionistic painting it would look more like thousands of random brush strokes all across the canvas. But once one steps back all the strokes come together and make a cohesive piece of art. It was mainly an outdoor painting specialized in landscapes and genre scenes, but Portrait art and still-lifes were also painted.

The most famous impressionist artists were Claude Monet, Edouard Manet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cezanne, Edgar Degas, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley, Jean-Frédéric Bazille and Armand Guillaumin. Other famous impressionists included: Berthe Morisot, Childe Hassam, Mary Cassatt, and Joaquin Clausell. This new style also spread to music and literature.

Hassam Snowstorm Madison Square.jpg

Snowstorm, Madison Square by Childe Hassam, c. 1890.

See also

Bazille, Portrait of Renoir, 1867.
Renoir, The Seine at Chatou.
Claude Monet, Flowers on the Banks of Seine near Vetheuil, 1880.


  1. Atkins, Robert, ARTSPOKE: A Guide to Modern Ideas, Movements and Buzzwords, 1848-1944, Abbeville Press, New York, 1993
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