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Continuing the ideas of the Realism Art Movement, Impressionists continued to push boundaries and challenge traditional ideas about what constituted art. More and more they ignored the Salons and challenged government sanctioned exhibits. Consequently they were shunned by powerful academic art institutions. As a result, they turned to the streets and cafes of Paris which quickly became a popular art scene during this movement.

The Impressionists aimed to capture a split moment in time. They weren't concerned with reality, clarity or perspective. Close up, many paintings were indistinguishable, but from afar they portrayed images of light and nature in an almost magical presentation. 

Did you know?

The Impressionist artists outraged the art community by holding their own exhibition in 1874.  An exhibit that also included a female artist named Berthe Morisot, the first and only woman in the exhibit.

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Below is some basic information on Impressionism and its characteristics and influences. If you would like to print off a copy of this page along with samples of art from this period, you can download the Impressionism above.

Quick Facts:
  • Art was made up of several small brush strokes and thick blobs of paint

  • The idea was to capture a moment in time on the canvas; the impression

Characteristics and/or Types of Art:
  • Abandoned traditional linear perspective

  • Emphasis on pure intense colors, not emotions or form

  • Artwork was blurry up close; missing details

  • Invention and use of photography

  • Japanese prints

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