Impressionism Paintings

Written by Charles Peacock
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Impressionism paintings are always among the most popular works of art at any museum. It's no wonder; their soft but striking representations of light in natural settings evoke powerful feelings in the viewer. Impressionism paintings are unique in that they permanently capture the world in a way that is nature is only fleeting.

Characteristics of Impressionism Paintings

Impressionism paintings are characterized by spontaneity. Because the genre demands the representation of light at a certain moment of the day, and because natural light is in perpetual flux, they are almost like photographic paintings. The best impressionist paintings are those that recreate the look of sunlight at its most temporal and beautiful: during the hours of sunrise and sunset.

The term "impressionism" is derived from the idea of painting as capturing a human impression of something. This means that it is a particularly subjective, human form of painting. The reason we react so deeply to the best works of Monet and Renoir is that they're specifically intended to show us things that we would love to see at the exact moment they are at their most beautiful.

Impressionism also owes much of its popularity to the fact that it was invented as a reaction to old, rigid standards of painting. Everything before the Impressionists tended to have a clean, somewhat unreal look to it. The impressionists sought to avoid painting by the rules, instead favoring a more natural, down-to-earth method.

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