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French Impressionist Painting

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French Impressionist Painting: A Rebellion Against the Rules, Specialists in Light and Movement, the Romance of Everyday Subjects.

Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, Berthe Morisot, Armand Guillaumin and Frederic Bazille were a group of French artists who ruffled the feathers of the established artists of the state sponsored Academie des Beau-Arts.

They shared a set of approaches to painting where they set out to give the impression of a scene or object. They used unmixed primary colours and small strokes to simulate reflected light. They mixed their colors on the canvas often using complementary colours which conveyed a shimmering light.

Instead of careful realist painting they used blurred edges to give the French impressionist painting an unfinished appearance, showed brushstrokes to give texture and did not use greys or blacks as they were specialists in light.

They used palette knives, paint applied straight from the tubes or big thick bristled brushes, all of which went against the rules of the Louvre Grand Salon.

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The critics were appalled by the artists lack of respect for the rules and they were banned from exhibiting at ?The Salon?, a thing which every artist till then had aspired to. To be accepted by The Salon was the aim of artists as it meant they could command good prices for their paintings. Unfortunately this backfired on the Salon as the artists were unperturbed by this and held their own exhibitions This occurred in the latter half of the 19th century beginning about 1867 and finishing about 1886.

It started when Claude Monet had a painting called ?Impression, Sunrise? which he painted in his own loose style. This so incensed one of the critics that he wrote calling the style Impressionism. This term was used in a derogatory manner. Because of the poor reviews by the critics, French Impressionist painting did not become popular for some time.

Up until The Impressionists, accepted art themes for art were religious, historical or mythological. French Impressionist painting included haystacks and rocks, picnics and parties, regattas and theatre. It delighted in the simplicity of everyday objects and everyday events. It is no wonder the movement was regarded as a rebellion.

The movement later included many more artists, the most notable being Edgar Degas, Paul Cezanne and Edouard Manet. The public generally associates the work of Vincent Van Gogh, Georges Seurat, Toulouse-Lautrec and Paul Gauguin with French Impressionist Painting but they were slightly younger and are technically included with Post Impressionist Painting. It spread to other European countries in the 1880s. These artists worked together and influenced each other although each had his or her own distinctive style. The new zinc tubes and light weight portable easels enabled these artists to paint outdoors, ?en plein air?, as this is known. This enabled them to capture the light. Prior to this time, artists made sketches and returned to the studio to execute their painting.

French Impressionist Painting remains the most popular of all European periods of art.

The appeal of French Impressionist Painting lies in its spontaneity, the romance of everyday subjects and its relaxed painting style which enables you to share an intimate moment with the artist and the subject.

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