A revolutionary 19th-century movement in French painting, lasting from roughly 1867 to 1886, that rebelled against the academic tradition’s historical subject matter and methods. Striving to capture the transient aspects of visual reality, especially light and color, Impressionists—the most familiar being Claude Monet and Pierre Auguste Renoir—emphasized firsthand observation of their subjects and focused on landscapes and everyday urban scenes. Like many subsequent avant-garde movements, it derived its name from a derisive label applied in a negative review. The 1874 Paris exhibition that introduced the group to the public contained Monet’s 1872 painting Impression: Sunrise, leading the critic Louis Leroy to coin the mocking term Impressionism, which the group co-opted. In the years following, Impressionism spread beyond France, most notably to Great Britain and the United States.

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