Impressionism bridge between past and future

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Impressionism bridge between past and future One critic described Impressionist painting as “tak[ing] a piece of canvas, colour and brush, daub[ing]a few patches of paint on it at random, and sign the whole thing with their name”. Manet, although never truly an Impressionist by style, he led artists including Monet, Degas, Renoir, Pisarro, Sisley and Cezanne, in a new artistic direction. This young group of artists, who had no real connection to each other until one critic lumped them together as “Impressionists”, banded in a time when their country was in turmoil and would leave the world the greatest collection of artwork. Through times of favour and denunciation, friendship and animosity, the pastiche of artists were both a culmination of a an art period and a bridge to the next artistic discovery. The France that most of the Impressionist artists were born into had experienced a “recent history...as dramatic and changeable as the era the painters were about to live through” (The Impressionists Handbook 12). By 1851 Emperor Napoleon III was firmly entrenched as a ruler of France. As a sign of his power, Napoleon III began his reign with press subjugation and a political assimilation. In juxtaposition to this harshness, he was also regulating bread prices and endorsing industrial and commercial growth in France in order for the country to follow the rest of Europe into the Industrial Revolution. Although traipsing behind most of the other surrounding countries, Napoleon III brought the “development of banking institutions, railways and factories” (Handbook 13) into France. Along with this new industrial growth came many sacrifices and gains for the people. With the steam engine and new modes of transportation, the power to work faster increased yet along with that increase the work day grew longer as well; as long as sixteen hours a day with very little personal time. Products were revolutionized and capitalism could thrive yet the worker’s role continued to diminish to a point where they were no longer an important person, simply a body to push along the industrial revolution. With these new technologies were new exploitation and a diminishing worker-employee relationship. The 1861 American Civil War that led to the emancipation of slaves in the United States had a ripple effect from across the ocean. ... ... middle of paper ... ...oes of the 19th century basked in their social deviancy. They may not have been as revolutionary as they would have like to believe yet still managed to alter the art world and place it on a new path for future artists. Even though the group itself began to disband in the 1880s as Neo and Post-Impressionism were evolving, the artists maintained their radical social position into the 1900s (Handbook 16). Although brief in time, the Impressionists would become like a bridge in a Monet painting connecting the past to the future in art history. Works Cited David, Jordan. Transforming Paris : the life and labors of Baron Hausmann. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1996. Honour, Hugh and John Fleming. A World of Art Hisory. London: Laurence King Publishing, 1995. The Impressionists Handbook. Leicester: Abbeydale Press, 1999. El Impresionismo [Impressionism] Barcelona: Parramon Ediciones, 1996/ New York: Barron’s Educational Series inc., 1997. Lewis, Anne-Marie. “Realism and Impressionism”. Lecture to INFA 2900, York University. Toronto. March 8, 2000 Willard, Christopher. “Make a Big Impression with impressionist Techniques” American Artist Oct. 1999: 18
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