Impressionism is an artistic movement that emerged in the 19th Century, born from the collaboration of several artists. First considered scandalous, their works will finally be recognized and appreciated several decades after they were painted.
Preceded by Romanticism, Realism and Naturalism, Impressionism shows an evolution in the history of art. Thanks to the invention of the flexible tube of paint, artists can now paint Landscapes and everyday situations, to the detriment of biblical scenes and historical subjects.
The main figures of Impressionism are Cézanne, Degas, Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Van Gogh, Sisley, Morisot and Nadar. They formed the Cooperative and Anonymous Association of Painters, Sculptors and Engravers and organize their own exhibition in 1874.
In an article of the French newspaper Le Charivari, the critic and humorist Louis Leroy made a play on words with the title of Monet’s "Impression, Sunrise", and called the artists impressionists. The term will be quickly picked up by the public and the artists themselves.
What characterized Impressionism was the willingness of artists to paint the living, like Landscapes, such as Monet's water-lilies and Cézanne’s "Mont sainte victoire", scenes of daily life, such as Renoir’s "The ball at the moulin de la galette in montmartre" or Van Gogh’s "Memory of the garden at Etten". These artists often painted in the open air and attached importance to lighting effects.
Manet summarized very well the desire to seize the moment and to represent the contemporary world with this formula: "I paint what I see, not what others like to see".