Impressionism was an artistic movement that developed among French painters between 1870 and 1885. Leading practitioners include Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The new movement consciously rejected the rigid rules of the French Art Academy concerning canvas size, subject matter, composition, and technique. Rather than paint historical scenes or moral allegories, the impressionists preferred landscapes, intimate portraits, and middle class entertainments made possible by the Industrial Revolution. Above all, the impressionists sought to capture a fleeting moment in time. As a result, they worked quickly and abandoned the fine details prized in academic circles in favor of loose, broken brushwork and a brighter palette of unmixed paints. Inspired by the influx of Japanese prints made possible by the 1853 American expedition to open Japan to Western trade, impressionist paintings also adopted a revolutionary new compositional style that employed unexpected angles of vision and cut off portions of their subjects. By the mid-1880s, impressionism was gradually replaced by a younger generation of postimpressionist artists like Paul Gauguin and Georges Seurat who used strong, unnatural colors and distorted perspective to convey an emotional response to the industrial changes of late nineteenth-century Europe.
   See also <>; <>; <>.
    Pool, Phoebe. Impressionism. London: Thames and Hudson, 1994;
    Thompson, Belinda. Impressionism: Origins, Practice, Reception. London: Thames and Hudson, 2000.

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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