It is often forgotten just how provocative and unsettling impressionist canvases seemed when they were first exhibited in 1874. Critics, professional artists, and gallery visitors alike were shocked to encounter the unorthodox paintings on display, with their seemingly unfinished surfaces and lack of any elements of traditional composition. The advocates of this new approach rejected nearly all the established principles and practices of oil painting prevalent at that time in France.
Tracing the origins and history of impressionism in a concise, introductory volume, Ralph Skea highlights the major differences between the new techniques and aesthetic principles of the impressionists and the academic art they abhorred, and goes a step further in exploring the original intellectual focus of the movement. Skea explores the impressionists’ desire to investigate their own sensory perceptions when painting, which resulted in their unique “impressions.”
An ideal companion for museum-goers, as well as those who are entirely new to the subject, Impressionism weaves an engaging narrative around a selection of striking illustrations, discussing the movement’s greatest artists, their works and where to find them.
Ralph Skea was for many years a senior lecturer in European urban conservation at the University of Dundee, Scotland. He is the author of Vincent’s Gardens, Vincent’s Trees, Monet’s Trees, and Vincent’s Portraits.