Impressionism and the Renaissance

Impressionism -1870-1890

Impression, Sunrise (c1872)

Impression, Sunrise by Claude Monet (c1872)

Above is the famous painting named Impression, Sunrise by Claude Monet (c1872). This legendary painting is of the Harbour of Le Havre in France. In 1874, two years after he and a few French artists broke away from the traditional style of painting and began a new method of painting; they decided to display their work at an independent exhibition. Where they could show and explain their new style of painting. During the beginning of this original movement there was no name for this form of painting so when Monet was asked for a title for his painting he decided to label it Impression. He came up with the name Impression, because his painting wasn’t a landscape nor was it a view and it had no defined subject. Therefore to him his painting seemed to be more like an Impression. Despite how unique and creative the paintings were the style of painting was not well received by art enthusiasts, in particularly art critic Louis Leroy. In a review for a Parisian newspaper LaCharivari, Louis used Monet’s title “Impression” as a way to label all paintings of this nature. The term was not used as a compliment, but instead it was used as an insult and to criticize their work.  

My impression

These paintings remind me so much of my world without glasses. Anyone who is near sighted, far sighted or has astigmatism I’m sure can relate to this style of painting, because when I take my lenses off this is my world. A blurry shady blending of colors, truly an impression of things surrounding me. No clear definition and no clear lines. Objects sort of just fade together. For those who don’t were glasses here is a link on vision Some of this work also reminds me of visual snow . I wonder if some of these artists wore glasses and just took them off to paint.

Do I love it, or hate it?

I wouldn’t exactly say that I love or hate the Impressionist movement. I guess I would say that I’m in between, because I do enjoy the paintings to some degree and I respect the unique and creative ways the artists used their brush strokes and the way they were are able to create such beautiful ambiance with shadows and light.  It truly is unique.  

Impressionism Vs.Renaissance

Last Super by Leonardo da Vinci (c1495-1498)

Last Super by Leonardo da Vinci (c1495-1498)

The Renaissance was the rebirth from the middle ages it was a time when  art, science and philosophy flourished.  The development of perspective and the study of how light could affect the mood of a painting was discovered and refined. It was the foundation for future artists to learn from. The art however, was limited on it’s subject it was focused more on religion, telling the stories from the bible and Ancient Greece. For example, above is one of Leonardo da Vinci’s most recognized paintings the Last Super ( c 1495-1498).

Compared to the style of painting during the Renaissance, Impressionism is a sharp contrast to it. Impressionism was not focused on religion nor Ancient Greece. Impressionism was primarily focused on capturing an individual moment in time and no one in particular. It was more about mood and feeling not so much about the subject or the telling of a story.  Impressionist artists did however, use perspective in their paintings, a technique that can be contributed  to the Renaissance era. Also, Impressionists had no defined lines or lighted subjects like in the Last Super by Leonardo da Vinci. Instead they focused more on luminance.


Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Impressionism and the Renaissance

  1. I enjoyed your post, it was very well written and had a nice flow. In your comparison/contrast I like how you pointed out that the perspective technique in Impressionism actually came from the Renaissance period, even though the styles seem so different. Nice choice of the Impressionist example, I almost chose this one myself.

  2. I thought your comparison of Impressionism art to blurred vision was rather unique. I have wondered how Impressionist art became less detailed, was it due to the lack of time or talent, or perhaps like you mentioned poor vision? I enjoyed how you recognized that Impressionist artists utilized some techniques developed during the Renaissance such as perspective, it’s interesting to see the style change throughout the years but many of the techniques stay the same.

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