Picturesque Movement Of Impressionism

Topics: Impressionism

An Account of the Impressionist Painting Style

The impressionist painting style was a painting movement that began in Paris in the 1860s and lasted for approximately two decades as its unconventional ideologies swept across Europe and into the United States of America. The movement was birthed in an almost similar fashion as that of Duchamp in New York. Its originators teamed to begin their own exhibition after the Salon of their day had repeatedly rejected their paintings for failing to conform to the then acceptable standards of art.

They decided that their newly launched exhibition would have no rules: it would be jury-less and would accommodate all works of art as long as the artist had paid the required subscription fee.

Impressionism entailed the re-imagination, re-interpretation and rejection of some widely known and acceptable aesthetic painting values (Richman-Abdou, 2017). It did so by prioritizing the effect of lighting over pictorial details in a painting (Gompertz, 2012, p. 45). Artists affiliated with this movement seemed more drawn to the momentary and sensory effects of a fleeting instance by the eye than what it took time to observe.

They moved their drawing from studios to the countryside and on streets in a bid to comprehend how the physics of light made paintings magnificent. Instead of using the broader brushstrokes that traditional painters were using, impressionists began applying paint of pure color to their drawings, albeit in small touches (Brodskaia, 2018). Their artistic results, as expected, were strange and sharply contrasted with those of their contemporaries as their finishing was less clinical and lacking in details.

Get quality help now

Proficient in: Impressionism

4.7 (348)

“ Amazing as always, gave her a week to finish a big assignment and came through way ahead of time. ”

+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

Since fine finishing and attention to detail were the benchmarks of artistic excellence then, the jury considered the paintings that impressionists presented to be less artistic and hence rejected them. The tone used by nearly all critics to sneer at the impressionists was similar: “Call that art?” (Gompertz, 2012, p. 61).

Undoubtedly, the results of the re-imagination and re-interpretation of the impressionists had caused their work to look so new and differ significantly from what was in place then. It had radically broken from the past and challenged artists to think out of the box and if possible, redefine art.

What Cezanne owes to Impressionism ad how he paved the way for modern art movements

The concept of using light and color in the right quantities to bring out a brighter image that impressionists introduced played a central role in Cezanne’s work in later years. Drawings before impressionism were typically dark because of the use of rougher brushstrokes. But when the understanding of the physics of light came with impressionists, the darkness in paintings reduced significantly. Cezanne loved this new development, but just partially as he mixed it with yet another technique in his work. He could not just take all of the ideologies of impressionists as he felt that their pictures were brilliant but messy (Brodskaia, 2018). At the same time, he did not like the idea of shading a painting to give it a solidified illusion that contemporary academic conventions taught. He opted for a middle ground between the two extremes that he believed would reduce the levels of messiness and solidity and make his work brilliant and attractive. The positivity of his decision became evident when artists began to appreciate his new style. Since he used a hybrid of the ideas of impressionists and pre-impressionists, the assertion that he owes to impressionists is justified.

It is also crucial to point out that Cezanne’s decision to blend the ideas of two separate and extreme artistic ends in his work was largely constructed on the foundation of re-imagination and re-interpretation, the very capabilities that had also motivated impressionists. He had to reject the conventional benchmarks of artistic excellence of his time and force the society of artists to rethink their contemporary art. These same ideologies that appeared to emphasize forward-thinking while still respecting the works of the predecessor artists were at the heart of many modern art movements. Artists affiliated with the fauvism and cubism movements, for instance, mixed the core principles of impressionists with “the visual language of the imagination” (Gompertz, 2012, p. 61) in their paintings to come up with work that won the approval of future generations. Just like these modern movements, Cezanne’s painting style was significantly hinged on blending principles. He did not consider the ideas of pre-impressionists to be too backward as he still could borrow an important technique from them and use it to advance his career. Neither was he dismissive of the philosophies of impressionists for being too futuristic. He combined them. One is thus justified to claim that he paved the way for these movements as he brought disruption upon the disruptor (impressionism) in the world of art and encouraged artists to keep re-imagining and re-interpreting what is already given to consistently come up with inventions.

Analysis of the Artist’s Father Reading L’Evenement Drawing

Cezanne has accurately used his blending capabilities in this classic 1866 drawing to communicate. We see a man (his father) seated on an oversized armchair in a room with a fairly dark background reading a newspaper in a relaxed mood. The room’s dark background and somber mood have been achieved by the use of a thick impasto which was most likely derived from thick brushstrokes (Levey, 2014). The man seems to be seated on the very edge of the armchair and tilted as if he is about to fall just in front of the image viewer. This angled view of the man who is also seemingly in the corner of the room prompts questions in the viewer’s mind as the tension in the room is palpable.

Variations in the thickness of brushstrokes have played a crucial role in the enhancement of the painting’s visual impression. Cezanne simultaneously appreciated the role that light plays in drawing, a concept that he had learned from the impressionists, and the purpose of broad brushstrokes in pinpointing pictorial details, a concept that pre-impressionists held onto strongly. We can tell, for instance, that the mood in this room is tense because of the variations in the thickness of the painting used on different objects in the drawing. If the notion of impressionists was solely held and the use of thick brushstrokes avoided, the room’s dark background would probably have been missing and the viewer could not possibly have read any mood in the image presented. Likewise, if only thick brushstrokes were used and the concept of lighting ignored, it would have been difficult to detect that there is tension in this room. Thus, both properties played a crucial role in adding this detail to the viewer.

A careful glance at this painting reveals that Cezanne either ignored or slightly played around with perspective. There seems to be a very little artistic touch on this painting because, at a glance, the drawing is exactly what would impress any ordinary eye or what a camera would capture. Many of the drawings of Cezanne’s contemporaries gave much attention to perspective. Objects that were far away in the background in an artist’s observation would appear smaller and more diminished in their painting as compared to those in the foreground which would be much large. This got to show that the artist had done some work on it. The case is different from Cezanne’s drawing as it looks more or less like a photograph. This lack of perspective that was associated with impressionists in the drawing seems to have ignored some pictorial details that would perhaps have enhanced the picture’s communication.

Cezanne’s painting was indeed a hybrid of the concepts of impressionists and pre-impressionists. His excellent variation of brushstrokes has added details to his rather ‘flat’ photograph that would have otherwise been less meaningful. He owes both the impressionists and pre-impressionists as he has used the former’s concept of light physics and the latter’s use of thick brushstrokes in this painting, which have given it a modern artistic touch. There is very little that one can see at a glance, yet so much to decipher from the Artist’s Father Reading L’Evenement by Cezanne.


  1. Brodskaïa, N. (2018). Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. New York: Parkstone


  1. Gompertz, W. (2012). What are you looking at? New York: Penguin Group.
  2. Levey, M. (2014). A concise history of painting, from Giotto to Cezanne. Memphis, TN: CPSIA


  1. Richman-Abdou, K. (2017, November 06). What is Modern Art? Exploring the Movements That
  2. Define the Ground-breaking Genre. Retrieved January 28, 2019, from

Cite this page

Picturesque Movement Of Impressionism. (2022, Apr 27). Retrieved from

Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7