Impressionism as an art style came to be back in the late 19th century and was not well received in it’s time. With visible brush strokes and brighter color schemes, painters were creating a style that focused more on the effect of a scene and did not conform to the realism that was the accepted style. Impressionism defined an entirely new expression of artistry that would rub off in other fields such as photography, film making and literature later on.


Impressionism had it’s beginnings in France in 1874. That year a group called the Cooperative and Anonymous Society of Painters, Sculptures and Engravers set up the first exhibition of their work in the studio belonging to Felix Nadar in Marseilles, who was himself a famous photographer. This group of artists included names such as Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and Camille Pissaro; and they were joined by other artists of the time including Paul Cezanne, Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, and Berthe Morisot. This group totaling 30 separate artists, held 8 exhibits between the years of 1874 and 1886.

The artists held these exhibits as many of them were being rejected year after year from displaying their works at the Salon de Paris, exhibits held by the Academie des Beaux-Arts. The Academie was a school widely considered the authority in the realist French painting styles accepted during the period. They also regularly rejected a large body of art every year to the dismay of the admirers of many of these artists. Eventually Emperor Napoleon III decreed the creation of the Salon of the Refused, an exhibition composed entirely of works rejected by the school.

The Name

The word “Impressionist” came from a review received by Monet and Cezanne after art critic Louis Leroy gave them a scathing review in 1874 in satirical newspaper Le Charivari. After seeing Monet’s painting of Impression Sunrise he famously wrote:

Impression—I was certain of it. I was just telling myself that, since I was impressed, there had to be some impression in it … and what freedom, what ease of workmanship! Wallpaper in its embryonic state is more finished than that seascape.

It took only a short time before “Impressionism” achieved widespread familiarity with both critics and artists alike.

The impressionist art style of painting is characterized chiefly by concentration on the general impression produced by a scene or object and the use of unmixed primary colors and small strokes to simulate actual reflected light. The most conspicuous characteristic of Impressionism painting was an attempt to accurately and objectively record visual reality in terms of transient effects of light and colour. The Impressionist painters often worked “en plein air”, or outdoors, to capture the fleeting effects of sunlight and atmosphere in quick brushstrokes of bold, unmixed colour applied directly to the canvas.

Impressionist StillLife

Impressionist StillLife

Impressionist Nude

Impressionist Nude

Impressionist Landscapes

Impressionist Landscap

Impressionism and post impressionism is mainly associated with the French impressionist painters, however artists in other countries also developed their own brand of Impressionism which has become unique in many different ways. French Impressionism was basically bourgeois, while Soviet Impressionism was proletarian. Russian and Ukrainian Impressionism is one of the most brilliant and undiscovered areas in the whole of Russian Art. Russian Impressionism has already become very popular in the West but the magnificent works produced by the Southern Russian School of Art are still relatively unknown to the Western art critic. Although certain painters such as Konstantin Lomykin from Odessa have become enormously popular with Western collectors and their paintings are much sought after all over the world, there was recently a major exhibition devoted to Konstantin Lomykin held in the Domsburg Art Museum, The Netherlands. The Southern Russian School can be characterised by the presence of much light, almost absent in Moscow and St Petersburg School of Art.

“The messiah of ‘new art’ didn’t exactly arrive in 1917 in a sealed train carriage from the southern sea. But all the efforts of his zealous followers couldn’t destroy in Odessa the mighty tradition of Russian “en plein air” painting. Today from afar, from the sunny stepes of the Southern Russian Impressionists – the singers of sun and light with childlike innocence and awe who idolized the beauty of the tempered state of nature, who tried to reach with this beauty our hearts which have been hardened by reflection are coming back to us.” G.Shestakov (collector).
Quoted from a book: “100 years of Southern Russian Impressionism”, 2003. Moscow-Tver’.

Impressionist Paintings Virtual Gallery offers art lovers a rich experience of carefully selected paintings by impressionist artists from impressionist landscape painting to still-life to figurative. The works displayed on the site have been chosen for their quality by our professional gallery team.

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