Defining an artistic era or movement is often a difficult task, as one tries to group individualistic expressions and artwork under one broad brush. Such is the case with impressionism, which culls together the art of a multitude of painters in the mid-19th century, including Monet, Cézanne, Renoir, Degas, and van Gogh. Basically, impressionism involved the shedding of traditional painting methods. The subjects of art were taken from everyday life, as opposed to the pages of mythology and history. In addition, each artist painted to express feelings of the moment instead of hewing to time-honored standards. This description of impressionism, obviously, is quite broad and can apply to a wide array of styles. Nonetheless, it remains a very important school in the annals of art.
Any current or budding art aficionado should become familiar with the impressionist movement and its impact on the art world. This book presents a sweeping study of this artistic period, from its origins to its manifestations in the works of some of art history’s most revered painters. Following this overview is a substantial and selective bibliography, featuring access through author, title, and subject indexes.