An Introduction to Impressionism
Impressionism originated in France, where people always loved the landscapes and the land. The way the French appreciate nature is very different from how Italians do it. Italians show their artistic love in a more direct way, in a way that is somewhat similar to an anatomical drawing. The French look at their land as if it has a soul and they try to understand, connect and relate to this soul. Understanding this approach is the key to understanding impressionism.
The movement of impressionism, just like most other movements in the art world, did not start overnight. There have been many forces, including artists, ideas, and activities that led to its birth.
Two painters that preceded impressionism and were extremely passionate about working on their art outdoors were Gustave Courbet and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot. They talked about their thoughts and love of nature to their friends, including Edouard Manet, Camille Pissarro, and Claude Monet.
Around 1860 many other French artists started deciding that they would like to start working outdoors. Many of them went to French country and started producing paintings of landscapes and nature. Because of the rebellious nature of the French 1870s Commune movement, many artists felt liberated to move away from traditions that dominated French art in the past.
In the late nineteenth century, more and more artists were developing an interest in color theory. Impressionist painters started to inject some of the elements of the theory into their work. This was also when the sciences of psychology and psychiatry were born and the discoveries about how humans thought, felt and interacted with others also played a role in how impressionists were approaching their work.
In 1863 some of the artists have been rejected by the French Academy that regulated art and created their own show, calling it the “show of the Refused,” which was full of impressionist paintings.