Impressionism in Writing and Art

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Impressionism in Writing and Art

Realizing that their art would be overshadowed at major art exhibitions such as the Salon in Paris, a group of artists created their own exhibition. Following the painters’ first show in 1874, critics picked up on the title of one of Claude Monet's paintings, Impression, Sunrise 1872. Between 1874 and 1886 this group, dubbed “impressionists”, put on eight shows in all. Edgar Degas, Camille Pissarro, and Claude Monet were three of the more well know artists of the movement ( impressionism/intro1.shtml). Although not necessarily a cohesive group, impressionist paintings all contained certain characteristics. The artists used very informal techniques while capturing the light and true color of their subjects. Their paintings have a very realistic feel when looked at from a far, however when viewed close up one can clearly see the short, blotchy strokes used by the artist. The paintings of Impressionists were immediate sensations which often captured the artists’ interpretation of everyday life. Diego Martelli remarked that impressionist painters do not “fabricate their theories first and then adapt the paintings to them, but on the contrary…the pictures were born of the unconscious visual phenomenon of men of art (Martelli 2)”

Around the same time period a group of writers also demonstrated impressionistic ideals in their writings. As is the case with impressionist painters, writers of the impressionist movement are also difficult to classify. Critics have argued that Joseph Conrad, James Joyce, Stephen Crane and others could all be considered to have impressionistic ideas in their writings. In response to scientism, a belief that scientific m...

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... site on the life and work of impressionist artists, here you can browse through impressionist paintings or even ask an expert a question. They even respond to your questions too!

Here you can read the introduction to John Peters book Conrad and Impressionism. After his introduction you will want to go out and get the whole book

Works Consulted

Martelli, Diego. “A Lecture on Impressionists.” Impressionism and Post-Impressionism

1874-1904. Ed Linda Nochlin. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1966.

Peters, John. Conrad and Impressionism. United Kingdom: Cambridge UP, 2001.

The Impressionists. History Channel. 2002 < impressionists/index.html>

Watt, Ian. Conrad in the Nineteenth Century. Berkeley: University of California, 1979.
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