Umetnički i književni pravac koji se javio šezdesetih godina XIX veka u Francuskoj i koji smatra da se zadatak umetnosti sastoji u što čistijem i vernijem prikazivanju i reprodukovanju čulnih utisaka (vraćanje prirodi) i doživljavanja; fil. pozitivizam, zato što za njega, kao jedino realni važe čulni utisci; supr. ekspresionizam. Poznati umetnici: Klod Debisi, Moris Ravel... (lat.)
ETYM French impressionnisme.
A genre of French painting that pictured appearances by strokes of unmixed colors to give the impression of reflected light.
Artistic doctrine of expressing without detail the artist's subjective impression of subject.
In music, a style of composition emphasizing instrumental color and texture. The term was first applied to the music of Claude Debussy.
Movement in painting that originated in France in the 1860s and dominated European and North American painting in the late 19th century. The Impressionists wanted to depict real life, to paint straight from nature, and to capture the changing effects of light. The term was first used abusively to describe Claude Monet’s painting Impression: Sunrise 1872. Other Impressionists were Auguste Renoir and Alfred Sisley, and the style was adopted for periods by Paul Cézanne, Edouard Manet, and Edgar Degas.
The starting point of Impressionism was the “Salon des Refusés”, an exhibition 1873 of work rejected by the official Salon. This was followed by the Impressionists’ own exhibitions 1874–86, where their work aroused fierce opposition. Their styles were diverse, but all experimented with effects of light and movement created with distinct brushstrokes and fragments of color juxtaposed on the canvas rather than mixed on the palette. By the 1880s, the movement’s central impulse had dispersed, and a number of new styles emerged, later described as Post-Impressionism.
Precursors and influences.
As far as Impressionism consisted in the rendering of light by color and without definite outline, it had its precursors in the works of Diego Velázquez, Francisco de Goya, and Jean-Antoine Watteau, for example. It had, however, a more definite forerunner in English landscape as practiced by John Constable and Joseph Turner. The vibrant blues of Japanese color prints (a discovery of the period) were also influential in the emancipation of painting from dark and muddy tones. Gustave Courbet, the advocator of the doctrine of realism, was an early inspiration with his return to nature and rejection of conventional subjects.
Atmosphere, color, and light.
Manet emerged as leader of the early Impressionists, but it was the experimental work of Monet and his followers that laid the theoretical foundations of the movement. They focused on atmospheric effects and the play of light and similar chromatic values and were committed to the study of nature en plein air (open-air painting). Central to their work was the “impression”—the catching and reproduction of a momentary vivid glimpse of a scene, as opposed to the systematic reproduction of the details that are unseen in such glimpses. They learned the art of presenting a tout ensemble wherein details were either deleted or subordinated to the whole. They also thoroughly investigated technique for the first time, ostracizing the conventional tonality of brown, and the use of all browns, blacks, and ochers. By the majority, all palette mixtures were abandoned and only the pure colors of the spectrum, in addition to white, were accepted.
The juxtaposition of fragments of these pure colors became one of the central precepts of the movement. Others were the simplification of light and shade in the presentation of mass rather than outline; the investigation of shadow, which is not absence of light, but light of diminished intensity; and the separation of local color and reaction. By adhering to these principles, the Impressionists succeeded to an impressive degree in the portrayal of atmospheric movement—the sway of shadow, the passage of light, the heaving movement of water, the sensation of wind. Camille Pissarro and Sisley were preeminent in this respect, and Manet departed from his earlier practice to paint as they did in the open. James Whistler, it may be noted, never became an Impressionist in the strict sense of the word, painting from memory and mixing his colors on the palette to the required tone rather than applying pure color direct. Other artists associated with the movement were Johan Jongkind, Berthe Morisot, and Henri Fantin-Lat.
Decline and legacy.
Although the movement had run its course by the 1880s, it had a late stage, known as Neo-Impressionism, which centered on the technical device of Pointillism, wherein spots of primary color were applied to the canvas, fusing when seen at a distance into the required tone. Inspired by the scientific color theories of Hermann von Helmholtz and Michel-Eugčne Chevreul, this technique was developed by Georges Seurat, Camille Pissarro, and Paul Signac. Its main value was to lead to the use of more positive color, as in Vincent van Gogh's pictures.