Centrality of Paris in Impressionism Essay examples

Impressionism is the name given to the art movement that changed art forever. Starting in France in the 1860’s, Impressionism was considered a radical break from tradition.1 Through the work of artists including Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, Pierre Renoir, Camille Pissarro and Edgar Degas impressionism was born. Impressionists painted outside and focused greatly on light and its reflection. They painted quickly on primed white canvas with short visible brushstrokes and placed separate colours side by side letting the viewer’s eyes mix them. (Techniques uncommon to art at this time) Regarding their subject they again broke with tradition and painted anything they wanted including the modernity of Paris and the everyday life of its citizens. This new found freedom regarding subject along with unconventional techniques greatly displeased the L’Ecole des Beaux-Arts where academic artists would have worked on subjects such as history, royalty and mythology.2 In contrast to the impressionists their work had a smooth varnished finish, showing little to no evidence of the artist’s presence. Having introduced Impressionism, I aim to in this essay analyse why the city of Paris is at the heart of the impressionist movement. Firstly by looking at how Paris helped create the impressionist movement and secondly how Paris fuelled it.Paris is vital to the impressionist movement as all the key impressionist artists mentioned above where born or lived in Paris. A significant artist who broke with tradition in his work was Manet. Paris born Manet is considered today as the father of impressionism. He began his art career studying under the academic painter Thomas Couture3 progressing to open his own studio in 1856 where he experimented with less c…

…t is Impressionism. We see that without Paris and its artists there would have been be no break from the traditions and regulations laid down by the L’Ecole des Beaux-Arts and Le Salon. Without Paris the movement would not have gained the recognition that it did. It was aided by the industrial revolution, the Haussmann project, the growth of le cafe and the revenue from trade by Parisian art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel. We also note how Paris was highly influential in the subjects of impressionist paintings. We see how the camera and colour theory influenced their work as well as how the modern cityscape and social interactions consumed their creations. Even today Paris plays a role in Impressionism. Its museums house some of the greatest examples of period impressionist work on view, showing that nearly two centuries later Paris is still at the heart of Impressionism.

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