Impressionism and Post-impressionism

“Art is created by the society we live in”

Impressionism and Post-Impressionism

– A Reflection of Tradition –

Monet – Impression – Sunrise 1872

– Dotted lines

– Soft

– Reflection

– Silhouettes

– Horizontal Lines

– Abstract

– Cold

– Limited Palette

– Unrealistic

– Implied line from the reflection of the sun

– he Painted what he saw around him

– Perspective from the lightly painted boats

– Used a collapsible easel + tubed paints

– Photography influence -> Depth of field


– Main points

  • Industrialization
  • Faster pace of life
  • Move from Country to cities
  • New Technology
  • Increased wealth
  • Rise of middle classes


– Timescale (1872 – 1892)

– Context:

  • Photography
  • First moving pictures
  • New types of paint
  • Japanese prints

– Themes and Concerns

  • To capture light
  • To paint outside, rather than in the studio
  • To reject the academic art of the salon – Historical, religious and mythological themes.

Renoir – Luncheon of the boating party (1880 -1881)

– Depth of field

– Capturing the moment

– Yellow (Luminous) + Complimentary

– Light

– The glass has been made to reflect the light

– Tonal

– Depicts middle class

Manet – Music in the Tuileries Garden 1862

– Upper/middle class

– depicts the party + contemporary life

– Unnecessary feature of chairs to show they’re made of metal (new material – revolutionary)

Degas – Ballet rehearsal 1874

– On Location doing sketches but not outside (quick sketches) which he then completes in his studio unlike most impressionist artists.

– Uses Light

– Tonal

Review of Impressionism

– Main points:

  • Effects of light
  • Rejected academic painting and the salon
  • Painted quickly and left brush mark visible
  • Painted normal Parisian life (People who live in bath)

Van Gogh – Starry night 1889

– Town is small (Man Made)

– Sky is biggest part (Nature, Implies man can’t control nature)

– Emotion (More personal touch)

– Flowing lines

– Rounded

– Dark

– Curved

– Abstract

– Cold

– Jagged

– Complementary colours (Blue/Yellow)

– Bold

– Swirly

– Bold Outline

– Tree in foreground

Post – Impressionism

– Timescale 1880 -1905

– Context:

  • Many public exhibitions of previous artistic achievements. Van gogh 1907, Cezanne 1903.
  • All embracing term used for the many reactions against impressionists.

– Main concern:

  • To reject the impressionists external observed world and look inside them
    • Past impressionism doesn’t have to be in proportion/realistic
    • Themselves for content – from eye to mind.

– Main artists: –

  • – Van Gogh   – Cezanne   – Gauguin   – Seurat

– Examples

Pointilism: Goerges Seurat, A Sunday afternoon on the lle de la grande jatte – 1884 – 1886

– Optical mixing (scientific method; Eye mixes the colour rather than the pallet)

– Ladies (the figure) Implied curved lines

– Upper/middle class

– Diagonal creating depth

Gauguin – Te tamari no atua (the birth of Christ) 1896

– Distorted perspective (beds too small or the girl)

– Recreating biblical image + challenging it (Donkey/baby)

– Looks like a cat on the bed due to the volume _tone of the object.

Cezanne – Mont sainte – Victoire, seen from les lauves 1902-04

– Painted how your eyes move around an object why implied lines are important

– Geometric


Main points about post impressionism:

– Abstract form + surface pattern

– rejected superficiality and of light + naturalistic colour

– Used vivid colours, thick paint, distinctive brush strokes

– Wanted more structure (Cezanne)

PhotoShop task:


This is Monet’s image of a impressionist painting with cold and warm colours. I then tried to create my own version of this image with the warm and cold colours on the building and sky:




Normally you would associate the building in a warm colour and the sky with a cold colour but Monet has done it opposite and this is why I choose this colour scheme, I then changed the texture to an artistic….

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This is one of Degas’ images of a ballet class painted to show the movement of an impressionist movement. I then made two versions of his work below:


motion blur

This first one was cropped to this size and angle of this so that i could manipulate and experiment with using the movement tool on photoshop, to have a motion blur across the whole image.



I then perfected the photoshop motion blur tool and used it to just motion blur the people in the image. I did this by selecting the figures and then going into ‘filter’, ‘blur’ and then ‘motion blur’ at an angle of 85 and a distance of 165 pixels.

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This is my inspired painting by Seurat of a pointillism painting. I then created my own style using photoshop on the image below of a boy walking towards a forest.



To create this I first used a ‘filter’ on ‘pixelate’ and then “pointillize” to then adjust the cell size to make it as small a cell size as the points on Seurat’s image, which was changed to 20.

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Arts & crafts and Art Nouveau

Before Industrialization:

– Communities were self-sufficient

– Clothing and utensils were made at home

– Village would have a blacksmith and potter- functional objects

-crafts guilds/anti-division of labor

What Changed?

-population expansion/trade/ increased consumption/changing methods of production

-peace and political stability

-mechanical paradise clip


-Advanced technology (cotton factory- first textiles factory to advance and make loads)

The great Exhibition- The crystal palace 1851

–          Looking to the future but reproducing the past

–          William Morris rebelled against these new materials

–          Joseph Paxton Designer

Arts and crafts

– The high ideals of William Morris

– A reaction against the industrial Revolution



-overlapping (lack of space


-absence of space

-contrasting colours (blue, orange)



-Functional and beautiful

-William Morris- ‘The nature of Gothic’ from ‘the stones of Venice’ by John Ruskin

-looked back to medieval craft guilds


-truth to materials

-preserved and emphasize natural qualities

-simple forms

-construction often exposed


-British country-side



-Glasgow school of art


Art Nouveau

-Abstract nature –organic –block colours –typography – reproduce nature

Mucha- example of the work:

-Analogous – nude -curved lines


–          First modern international style

–          Artists looking for new models and new forms

–          Surface design

–          Line, shape, space, improvise

–          Increased abstraction

–          Nature

–          Other cultures

–          Sinuous

–          Whiplashed lines

–          Flowing natural forms

–          Curved lines

–          Fashionable sinuous lines, characteristics of the style

-Aubrey Beardsley 1892- The peacock skirt

Visual Elements

Different art elements and what they mean:


actual or implied lines within the composition.

  • Horizontal lines- calming
  • Vertical lines- power & strength
  • Diagonal lines- tend to be visually dynamic- suggesting movement, ‘visual tention’ and/ or excitement.
  • Curved lines- suggest organic (living/breathing things)
  • Converging lines- lines that join together (geometric)


hues with their values, intensity and saturation.

  • Primary- red, blue, yellow
  • Secondary- green, orange, purple
  • Tertiary- in between primary and secondary colours
  •  Analogous- colours next to each other- correspond or are similar in some way; creates peace, restfulness or harmony. 

Shape- areas defined by their edges within the piece.

Form- the 3-D quality of an object or shape- it’s length, width and depth.

Tone- describes the darkness or lightness of a particular area in an image; shading from light to dark tone is often used to emphasize the form (an object’s 3D quality)

Space- the space taken up by objects or the space in-between objects (sometimes called negative space)

Texture surface qualities of the artwork.

Klimt- The kiss Analysis


Klimt- The kiss:

The image is influenced by the japonisme style of Japanese prints. Also, inspired by the medieval times by the ‘gold-ground’ and the illuminated manuscripts and mosaics, further the spiral patterns in the clothes recall the bronze age art.

The image depicts this woman being embraced by a lover all wrapped in robes close together- locked in intimacy. The artist has represented the women, as not the object of desire but like the female is the protagonist. Compared to that of the

rest of the piece, which seems flat.

The movement of the work is from art nouveau with added organic forms of arts and crafts.  The piece conflict between the two-dimensional and three-dimensional background and also creates a romantic piece of modern art.


The image presents organic lines from the flowers and people, also, vertical lines and horizontal lines from the blocked shapes and flowing intended lines from the robes and flowerbed and further from the grittiness of the background. Further, there’s spiral, thin lines on the woman’s robe to suggest a girly, ladylike pattern. Compared to the guy where there’s thick blocked, almost dotted lines going up the robe creating rectangular blocks.

The image has been washed out and depicted primary, bright colours on the robe, but dull in places; for example, the background. The flowers show a calm, warm and sweet, almost tranquil mood to the image to go with the romance and intimacy of the people.

The shape is geometric with all the different heavy and light shapes. For example, the man has blocked, heavy and thick lines/rectangles to suggest masculinity whereas the women has light, flowery patterns flowing up her robe. 

Most of the texture is flat, apart from the background that looks bity- a grainy /sandy look to it. 

The only tone within the image is the man and women’s face and the foot sticking out at the bottom of their robes, which makes it look three-dimensional rather than flat, two- dimensional.

The composition is central and simple. In this sense the artist has only done flowery bedding in the bottom left and then the couple in the middle covering most of the middle from the bottom to the top of the image. The rest is plain and just the grainy background colour covering the image. 

Comparing and contrasting the different uses of line…


Van Gogh- Wheatfield with crows, 1890

This painting done by Van Gogh of the Wheatfield depicts an implied large ascending diagonal line from left to right across the piece. For example, it is implied by the direction of the birds going right in the mid-ground, the cold coloured sky lines thickly painted going from left to right and also the hot coloured Wheatfield lines going right or diagonally right; all implying everything to be rising and moving- whether from the wind or time of day- within the image; all making a calm, warm and cold, sensitive piece. As well as it being calm the image has a sense of rush and business around it as the lines are short, curved and dotted across the piece looking broken up and sectioned as well. The different uses of thick and thin cross-hatched lines look rough and overlaid by each colour on the image to create tonal variation. The piece doesn’t have any outlines to suggest the shape of each object within the piece but Gogh has cleverly depicted a continuous flow the piece throughout by crosshatching the lines and colours together. Moreover, the way the image has been presented in broad colours reinforces this diagonal line going across the image. 

Alphonse Mucha- Zodiac



On the other hand, to Van Gogh’s image, Alphonse Mucha (zodiac) presents a portrait piece where everything within the image is flowing from the middle to the outside with outlines separating each object within the image. The artist creates a calm and elegant image with the organic leaves and person flowing in thick and thin lined shapes(much like Gogh), for example the oval leaves and thin hair ends, with the calming mood imply smoothness. There are bold outlined shapes, opposite to Gogh’s style, around the image, for example, outline of the women, the outline of what looks like a frame of a scroll, rounded around the zodiac circle and women. Apart from the rounded lines around the image there’s also this continuous line flowing in the middle of the circle that loop around like a jump, bouncing pattern. The image over laps between the outline of the frame, as with the hair some flows underneath while other parts flow outside; as with the leaves, parts flowing outside and others underneath; with Gogh’s work his landscape overlaps to create tonal elements and flows from right to left and from foreground to background creating depth in the image compared to Mucha’s bold, outlined portrait. Further, there’s an element of psychological lines formed by the way the women’s looking out to the side creating the viewer to be intrigued by her glance and with the relations to this circle and leaves flowing through the image. The image looks powerful done so by the use of different lines used by the artist.