Impressionism ( impressio of latin, impression '; over the French impressionism ) is a style in art history. It grew out of a movement in painting in France in the second half of the 19th century. Even in music, in literature, in film and in photography developed impressionistic directions.


The word Impressionism, derived from the Latin impressio, impression 'or French impressionism, established itself as an art- scientific term in 1874, the art critic Louis Leroy ran from the painting Impression -. Soleil levant ( Impression - Sunrise ) by Claude Monet disparagingly intentioned and initially unloved by those concerned designation from. The work was shown in 1874 the first joint exhibition of the group.

Impressionism in painting

The painting Impression - soleil levant (1872 ) by Claude Monet gave the movement its name. She excelled, however, from much earlier. Already the work Édouard Manet from the 1860s show the basic elements of the early break with the academic school of thought - about Music in the Tuileries. The first group exhibition of the Impressionists in 1874 took place in the studio of the photographer Nadar in Paris.

The representation of light and atmospheric conditions was in Impressionism to the picturesque main task. Color was seen as a sequence of light and the atmosphere, and played back as a carrier of the light. The absence of black and earthy tones made ​​brighten the color palette.

The artists broke away from the picturesque mapping function. Immediacy of the snapshot and randomness of the image section are characterizing features of impressionist works of art. New discoveries in optics resulted from the Chevreul's color theory. The industrial production of oil paints in tubes, patented in 1841 by John Goffe Rand, enabled the plein air painting. This new painterly practice that was related to a new world and life view, spread around 1900 in Europe.

Impressionism in music

In music, one speaks also of the style of Impressionism. As the founder applies here especially Claude Debussy (1862-1918), who, however, objected to the term Impressionist. For him music is " sound and color art." This results in his works impressionistic soundscapes, in which the atmosphere and the mood are represented musically.

Debussy's melodic motifs rarely develop and are not contrapuntal processed or carried out, as was usually the case otherwise. Rather, they appear for a brief moment to show up in rapidly changing harmony and be replaced directly again. He was inspired here by the perception of nature, but also of Asian music, which he had met at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1889.

An important contemporary Debussy was Maurice Ravel (1875-1937), whose impressionistic instrumentation study for large orchestra, Boléro, is particularly popular. The English Impressionism was influenced by artists such as Cyril Scott (1879-1970) and John Ireland ( 1879-1962 ).

Impressionism in literature

The term Impressionism is used in the German literature as literarhistorischer concept of order, but without continuous professional scientific consensus, as it is often perceived as too " imprecise ".

Impressionism in Photography

End of the 19th century, a number of photographers fought claims to art by putting the art of their time with their agents in the scene. The Pictorialists translated, inspired by thinkers such as Antoine Claudet and Peter Henry Emerson, systematically, the blur as a stylistic device. Robert Demachy sat with his rubber Bichromatdrucken ballet shots in scene that showed great similarity with paintings by Edgar Degas in style and mood. Besides Demachy picture among others works have the Pictorialists Heinrich Kühn, Alfred Stieglitz, Gertrude Käsebier, Edward Steichen, Adolphe de Meyer, Alvin Langdon Coburn and Mary Devens an impressionistic look.

Conversely, had the photograph fruitful back to the Impressionist painting. Random acts compositions with cut people, cars and animals made ​​their entry. Demachy was inspired by the ballet scenes of Degas. Degas, in turn, used the snapshot effect, the intentional randomness of framing and composition, as a stylistic device in his paintings.

Impressionism in the film

The impressionistic film is an aesthetic concept in the art of film, which is associated mainly with French films of the 1920s. Germaine Dulac directors like Louis Delluc, Jean Epstein, Abel Gance, Marcel L' Herbier and Dimitri Kirsanoff related in these works at the Impressionist paintings of the 19th century and to the music of Impressionism. The term was established by film historians such as Henri Langlois and Georges Sadoul.