TIMELINE OF WORLD HISTORY
 

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  Neoclassicism and Romanticism

Realism, Impressionism and Post-Impressionism

Symbolism
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Realism *
Impressionism
* Neo-Impressionism * Post-Impressionism
 
 
see also: Impressionism Timeline (1863-1899)
 
 
Giovanni Boldini
Jules Dalou
Franz Defregger
Thomas Eakins
Moses Ezekiel
Luke Fildes
Winslow Homer
Carl Larsson
Alphonse Legros
Wilhelm Leibl
Franz von Lenbach
Hans Makart
Anton Mauve
Constantin Meunier
Mihaly Munkacsy
Vasily Perov
Ilya Repin
Henry Hobson Richardson
Vasily Surikov
Hans Thoma
Fritz von Uhde
Vasily Vereshchagin
Anton von Werner
James McNeill Whistler
Charles Angrand
Frederic Bazille
Gustave Caillebotte
Mary Cassatt
Paul Cezanne
Lovis Corinth
Henri-Edmond Cross
Edgar Degas
Vincent van Gogh
Armand Guillaumin
Childe Hassam 
Peder Kroyer
Max Liebermann

Edouard Manet
Claude Monet
Berthe Morisot
Giuseppe de Nittis
Camille Pissarro
Pierre-Auguste Renoir
John Singer Sargent
Georges Seurat
Alfred Sisley
Federico Zandomeneghi
 
 
 
 
 
       
 
 
  Louis Anquetin
(1861- 1932)
       
Theo van Rysselberghe (1862-1926) Paul Signac (1863-1935) Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) Emile Bernard (1868-1941)
       
 
 
 


Edouard Manet. In the Conservatory
Oil on canvas
1879
Staatliche Museen, Berlin

 
 
 
French Impressionnisme
 
 
Impressionism, French Impressionnisme, a major movement, first in painting and later in music, that developed chiefly in France during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Impressionist painting comprises the work produced between about 1867 and 1886 by a group of artists who shared a set of related approaches and techniques. The most conspicuous characteristic of Impressionism in painting was an attempt to accurately and objectively record visual reality in terms of transient effects of light and colour. In music, it was to convey an idea or affect through a wash of sound rather than a strict formal structure.

Painting
The principal Impressionist painters were Claude Monet, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley, Berthe Morisot, Armand Guillaumin, and Frédéric Bazille, who worked together, influenced each other, and exhibited together. Edgar Degas and Paul Cézanne also painted in an Impressionist style for a time in the early 1870s. The established painter Édouard Manet, whose work in the 1860s greatly influenced Monet and others of the group, himself adopted the Impressionist approach about 1873.

These artists became dissatisfied early in their careers with academic teaching’s emphasis on depicting a historical or mythological subject matter with literary or anecdotal overtones. They also rejected the conventional imaginative or idealizing treatments of academic painting. By the late 1860s, Manet’s art reflected a new aesthetic—which was to be a guiding force in Impressionist work—in which the importance of the traditional subject matter was downgraded and attention was shifted to the artist’s manipulation of colour, tone, and texture as ends in themselves. In Manet’s painting the subject became a vehicle for the artful composition of areas of flat colour, and perspectival depth was minimized so that the viewer would look at the surface patterns and relationships of the picture rather than into the illusory three-dimensional space it created. About the same time, Monet was influenced by the innovative painters Eugene Boudin and Johan Barthold Jongkind, who depicted fleeting effects of sea and sky by means of highly coloured and texturally varied methods of paint application. The Impressionists also adopted Boudin’s practice of painting entirely out-of-doors while looking at the actual scene, instead of finishing up a painting from sketches in the studio, as was the conventional practice.

In the late 1860s Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, and others began painting landscapes and river scenes in which they tried to dispassionately record the colours and forms of objects as they appeared in natural light at a given time. These artists abandoned the traditional landscape palette of muted greens, browns, and grays and instead painted in a lighter, sunnier, more brilliant key. They began by painting the play of light upon water and the reflected colours of its ripples, trying to reproduce the manifold and animated effects of sunlight and shadow and of direct and reflected light that they observed. In their efforts to reproduce immediate visual impressions as registered on the retina, they abandoned the use of grays and blacks in shadows as inaccurate and used complementary colours instead. More importantly, they learned to build up objects out of discrete flecks and dabs of pure harmonizing or contrasting colour, thus evoking the broken-hued brilliance and the variations of hue produced by sunlight and its reflections. Forms in their pictures lost their clear outlines and became dematerialized, shimmering and vibrating in a re-creation of actual outdoor conditions. And finally, traditional formal compositions were abandoned in favour of a more casual and less contrived disposition of objects within the picture frame. The Impressionists extended their new techniques to depict landscapes, trees, houses, and even urban street scenes and railroad stations.

In 1874 the group held its first show, independent of the official Salon of the French Academy, which had consistently rejected most of their works. Monet’s painting Impression: Sunrise (1872; Musée Marmottan, Paris) earned them the initially derisive name “Impressionists” from the journalist Louis Leroy writing in the satirical magazine Le Charivari in 1874. The artists themselves soon adopted the name as descriptive of their intention to accurately convey visual “impressions.” They held seven subsequent shows, the last in 1886. During that time they continued to develop their own personal and individual styles. All, however, affirmed in their work the principles of freedom of technique, a personal rather than a conventional approach to subject matter, and the truthful reproduction of nature.

By the mid-1880s the Impressionist group had begun to dissolve as each painter increasingly pursued his own aesthetic interests and principles. In its short existence, however, it had accomplished a revolution in the history of art, providing a technical starting point for the Postimpressionist artists Cézanne, Degas, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, and Georges Seurat and freeing all subsequent Western painting from traditional techniques and approaches to subject matter.


Music

In music, Claude Debussy has always been considered the principal Impressionist. Even though Debussy was influenced by the general aesthetic attitudes of Impressionist painters, he made no attempts to compose with musical techniques that were closely analogous to techniques of painting. Furthermore, the characteristics of Debussy’s music are so variable from the first through the last of his compositions that even a general sense of Impressionism might best be restricted to most of his music composed between about 1892 to 1903 and to certain specific later compositions strongly resembling those works in style. Some of these Impressionist works would be the opera Pelléas et Mélisande (first performed in 1902), the orchestral piece “Nuages” (“Clouds,” from Nocturnes, completed in 1899), and the piano piece “Voiles” (“Sails,” from Douze Préludes, Book I, 1910). Other composers considered Impressionistic include Maurice Ravel, Frederick Delius, Ottorino Respighi, Karol Szymanowski, and Charles Griffes.

Musical Impressionism is often thought to refer to subtle fragility, amorphous passivity, and vague mood music. A more accurate characterization of Impressionist music would include restraint and understatement, a static quality, and a provocatively colourful effect resulting from composers’ fascination with pure sound as a beautiful and mysterious end in itself. Technically, these characteristics often result from a static use of harmony, ambiguous tonality, a lack of sharp formal contrasts and of onward rhythmic drive, and a blurring of the distinction between melody and accompaniment. Although Impressionism has been considered a movement away from the excesses of Romanticism, the sources of many of its characteristics may be found in the works of composers who are also considered to be the Romantic precursors of Expressionism—e.g., Franz Liszt, Richard Wagner, and Aleksandr Scriabin.

Encyclopædia Britannica
 
 
 

Paul Gauguin. Garden View, Rouen
 
 
Neo-Impressionism
 
 
Neo-Impressionism, movement in French painting of the late 19th century that reacted against the empirical realism of Impressionism by relying on systematic calculation and scientific theory to achieve predetermined visual effects. Whereas the Impressionist painters spontaneously recorded nature in terms of the fugitive effects of colour and light, the Neo-Impressionists applied scientific optical principles of light and colour to create strictly formalized compositions.

Neo-Impressionism was led by Georges Seurat, who was its original theorist and most significant artist, and by Paul Signac, also an important artist and the movement’s major spokesman. Other Neo-Impressionist painters were Henri-Edmond Cross, Albert Dubois-Pillet, Maximilien Luce, Théo Van Rysselberghe, and, for a time, the Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro. The group founded a Société des Artistes Indépendants in 1884.

The terms divisionism and pointillism originated in descriptions of Seurat’s painting technique, in which paint was applied to the canvas in dots of contrasting pigment. A calculated arrangement of coloured dots, based on optical science, was intended to be perceived by the retina as a single hue. The entire canvas was covered with these dots, which defined form without the use of lines and bathed all objects in an intense, vibrating light. In each picture the dots were of a uniform size, calculated to harmonize with the overall size of the painting. In place of the hazy forms of Impressionism, those of Neo-Impressionism had solidity and clarity and were simplified to reveal the carefully composed relationships between them. Though the light quality was as brilliant as that of Impressionism, the general effect was of immobile, harmonious monumentality, a crystallization of the fleeting light of Impressionism.

Signac’s later work showed an increasingly spontaneous use of the divisionist technique, which was more consistent with his poetic sensibility. Seurat, however, continued to adopt a theoretical approach to the study of various pictorial and technical problems, including a reduction of the expressive qualities of colour and form to scientific formulas. By the 1890s the influence of Neo-Impressionism was waning, but it was important in the early stylistic and technical development of several artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Henri Matisse.

Encyclopædia Britannica
 
 
 
see also: Impressionism Timeline (1863-1899)
 
 
 

 
 
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