Impressionism - Art Style of the 19th Century


Impressionism is an art style that developed in France in the late 19 th century. Young painters used new techniques to paint outdoor scenes. They experimented a lot with different forms of light and color. Impressionists wanted to show the viewer how a landscape looked at different times of the day. They did not put so much emphasis on the detail of objects. Many critics of impressionism thought these artists were sloppy and did not care so much about their work.

Two of the most famous painters of this period were Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Monet, for example, painted the same scenic pictures at different times of the day to show the viewers different impressions.

Before impressionism began painters created pictures of historical objects and followed strict rules. They liked to show things as detailed as possible. Starting in the 1860s painters tried something different. Edouard Manet caused a scandal by painting in sketchy strokes. He did not concentrate on the object but on the colors and light around it.

Many other artists followed Monet’s style. They did not work in their studios any more but went outside and observed nature. They liked to work with natural light. But impressionists not only painted pictures of landscapes. They also drew paintings of factory buildings, railway trains and other things they saw around them.

Claude Monet’s painting Impression: Sunrise in 1872 gave the style its name. Painters adopted this style as symbol of what they wanted to achieve: to give an impression of what they see.

The impressionists held a number of art shows in which they displayed their works. They created their most important works from 1870 to about 1910. This style influenced other artists of later generations, like Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh.


Claude Monet's Impression:Sunlight

Claude Monet's Impression:Sunlight


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  • achieve = get, reach
  • adopt = take on, use, accept
  • cause = lead to
  • century = a hundred years
  • concentrate = focus
  • create = make
  • detailed = complete, exact
  • develop = here: come from
  • display = show
  • emphasis = importance, focus
  • impression = feeling, thought
  • influence = here: to affect the way other painters painted
  • landscape = scenery, countryside
  • observe = watch
  • rule = instruction, law
  • scenic = beautiful
  • sketchy = unclear
  • sloppy = careless, not exact
  • strict = very exact
  • stroke = movement of a pen or brush
  • technique = method, way
  • viewer = watcher, observer
  • works = paintings