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Impressionism vs Post – impressionism Essay Sample

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Impressionism vs Post – impressionism Essay Sample

Modern culture is believed to be the brainchild of two versions of the Protestant worldview: the northern French positivism and irrationalism. If the first is trying to discern the signs of the afterlife in the image of reality (which is actually a reflection of the culture established meanings), the second doubts of the possibility to view anything except for one’s own feelings. Impressionists were trying to recreate their sensory impressions with scientific precision. Analytical approach to his own artistic activities allowed them to make a number of discoveries and formulate several principles.

Impressionism is actually the direction in art of the last third of the 19th – early 20th centuries, whose members sought to capture the real world in its mobility and variability, truthfully convey moments of life. Impressionism (the term comes from the French word for ‘experience’) originated in the 1860s in France, where painters Manet, Renoir and Degas brought variety, dynamics and complexity of modern urban life, freshness and immediacy of perception of the world in their art works. Their works are mostly characterized by apparent imbalance, fragmentary compositions, unexpected angles, and glazed sections shapes.

Impressionism vs Post Impressionism
Another version of the picturesque romanticism preceding Impressionists is Barbizon (Corot, etc.) sought to capture the mood of the finest weather, atmosphere. Much attention was paid by them to writing sketches in nature, while Daubigny used to paint right ‘en plein air’. Such a principle became the rule for impressionists: the main ‘protagonist’ of their paintings was air (being the light environment). As a result, the actual objects in their paintings dissolve, at least their scenic properties have the value, rather than social qualitative characteristics. Instantaneous transient impression (hence their name) was of particular interest to the Impressionists. They stress this instantaneity usually breaking composite strength of pictures or rather, the integrity of objects. Their paintings have peculiar kind of framing, sketchiness: the edges of objects and bodies are arbitrarily cut, the story of the canvass is not the fundamental and characteristic, rather accidental, thus not the dancers’ performance like, for example, in the paintings of Degas, but their rehearsal time (Rewald, 1973).

They are actively used approach to nature prompted Japanese prints – an instantaneous image of the same object – Claude Monet wrote a series of haystacks, poplars, facade of the cathedral. And to complete the series he even had to pay for the poplars not to be cut down. He succeeded in reach and conveying the necessary sense, while working on a specially equipped boat. Striving to achieve the forces of natural impressions made ​​Impressionists to write in pure color without mixing paints. At that the sense of halftone was achieved with strokes put in a row in pure additional colors. Distance from the canvas created the mixing effect, which even gave tinting to colors of high intensity. This way they discovered the possibility of self-expressive smear, which was later used for the construction of Paul Cezanne’s conceptual picture of the world.

Van Gogh and Expressionists used this to convey the emotional state, Pointillists (Seurat and Signac, who write using points) applied the principle to portray extensionality of shimmering space. In fact, proclaiming one of the programs, the Impressionists opened conceptual art, modern art, where the main principle is the vision, the idea, which is a core value. This was fully realized by post-impressionists (Cezanne, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Degas, and Toulouse-Lautrec) (Wadley, 1991). Manet, parodying classical subjects, gave beauty to the human will, enjoying the contrast of ancient scandalous nude men in modern clothes. Manet defended the right to one’s own attitude. This right was also upheld by other Impressionists with their own exhibitions arrangement, 8 exhibitions from 1874 to 1886 saw the art world.

Only some of the artists, like Monet, Pissarro, and Sisley, followed the general program (outlined above). Renoir preferred to portray and rosy girls and children, rather than landscapes, B. Morisot often wrote indoors, Degas depicted working moments of dancers in their rehearsals, sometimes in the artificial light of the ramp; bakeries and cafes; horses before the races, etc. In the literature impressionism never took a holistic direction, as stylistic feature, aspirations to convey instant impression, impressionism was inherent in the works of writers following different directions. Connoisseurs of the stretched and sophisticated psychological research were the brothers Goncourt, K. Hamsun (with his novel ‘Hunger’); the epic memories analysis of Marcel Proust ‘In Search of Lost Time’ turns into ‘the streams of consciousness. Impressionism in poetry is subtle observations and descriptions using purely scenic resources, but in delicate pastel colors inherent in neoclassicism (modernity), as well as methods of thin associative sound writing inherent primarily in Verlaine’s poems and sometimes his followers (Hauser, 2005).

Postimpressionism term comes from Latin word ‘post’ meaning ‘after’ and impressionism in order to denote the conditional collective designation of the main directions of French painting of the late 19th – early 20th centuries. Post-Impressionist masters, many of which had previously adhered to Impressionism, from the mid-1880s started looking for new and, in their opinion, more expressive means ‘in tune with the epoch’, that would allow to overcome the empiricism of artistic thinking and move from impressionistic fixing of individual moments to embodiment of its prolonged life states, both spiritual and material. Post-Impressionism revealed most crisis traits of the Western culture of that period, painful and controversial artists’ searches for stable ideological and moral values.

The period of post-impressionism is characterized by typical active mutual individual areas and individual creative systems. And though a number of post-impressionism areas (Neo Impressionism and partially ‘Nabi’, which is the French version of ‘modernity’) does not come out of the time-frame boundaries, creativity of its leading masters (primarily of Post Impressionists Cezanne, V. van Gogh, Gauguin, A. de Toulouse- Lautrec) with its problematic initiates multiple trends in the fine art of the 20th century. Post Impressionism (from French postimpressionism, earlier from Latin Post meaning ‘after’) is the term adopted in art to denote main line of development in French art starting from the second half of 1880s till the beginning of the 20th. The start point of Post-Impressionism is considered to be the beginning of 1886, when the last Impressionist exhibition was held and the ‘Manifesto of symbolism’ by the poet Jean Moréas was issued (Galenson & Weinberg, 2001).

The opposition to aesthetics of impressionism and realism united new trends. Post-impressionists artists sought to convey in his paintings the characteristic and essential, rather than the fleeting and momentary. Post-Impressionists include representatives of Pointillism (coming from French Pointillisme) (J. Cera, P. Signac), members of the group ‘Nabi’, A. de Toulouse-Lautrec. However, the main role in determining the creative method of post-impressionism belonged P. Cezanne, Van Gogh and P. Gauguin. Each of these artists worked independently and sought his own path in art. They did not come like Impressionists in one single group. Artists were only united on the basis of their creative quest in impressionism.

Almost all of them started their journey in art in the mainstream of this movement, used discoveries of the Impressionists in color, composition, painting techniques, separate smear, etc. P. Cezanne kept strictly to the method of work ‘on location’. Post-impressionists’ works retained lifelikeness of images, which was later renounced by many avant-garde masters of the 20th century. The main difference between Impressionists and Post-Impressionist lies in the rejection by the latter the method of visual observation and depiction of the sole appearance, surface of life phenomena. Using a common comparison of art with the mirror, P. Gauguin claimed that his writings reflected not the outer look of the depicted figures and objects, but the spiritual state of the artist. The purpose of art was self-expression, and not an imitation of nature.

P. Cezanne called his art ‘thinking with a brush in hand’. Post-impressionists wanted to return the refused by Impressionists form to the art: content, thinking, and sought to re-establish contact with the artistic traditions of the past, including classical. Each of the participants in this movement sought to rework his own impressionism, filling it what, in their opinion, was lacking. Building the crafted overall composition was one of the main tasks in the work by P. Cezanne. In his quest he relied on the classical heritage, creativity N. Poussin and Ingres, often turned to themes and images of classical art, not only the image of modern life. He geometrized form of depicted objects and figures, and made them a homogeneous structure. Cezanne returned weight to figures and bodies, volume and materiality, lost by Impressionists. He used to tell he did not work from nature, but ‘parallel to nature’. Van Gogh sought to express his attitude to the subject using the color harmonies.

For example, night cafe for him is a place ‘where you can go crazy’ or ‘commit a crime’. In landscapes by Van Gogh, just as in the human soul, there is a ‘clash of passion’: rocks shudder, trees cry out for help. Van Gogh wrote that he did not want to portray what was in front of his eyes. His goal was to express himself. Color became the main spokesman of emotions for him. Van Gogh believed there were colors that ‘love’ and there are those who ‘hate’ each other. Therefore, their contrast or harmony is capable of expressing a variety of spiritual state of the artist. Van Gogh’s smear is also a carrier of emotion. Sometimes it sharp, pointy, hacking, and sometimes it is rounded and rhythmically repetitive (Roskill, 1970). Gauguin moved even further away from the Impressionists. The artist wanted to appeal to the eternal, timeless themes. Primitive art and orientalism attracted him. He said that he did not depict real life, but ‘his dreams of it’. Gauguin’s paintings are a world of miracle, fairy tales. Tree trunks are blue, earth is red, and the sky is yellow.

His artistic language becomes frankly conditional. In Van Gogh’s works color is emotional, in Gauguin’s it is decorative. Post-impressionists, using the conquest of the Impressionists, crossed that line before which their predecessors stopped. Each of the Post-Impressionists, retaining lifelikeness, overcame immutable principle of the traditional art system in ‘imitation of nature’. Chair and shoes in the paintings of Van Gogh, Cezanne’s apples, despite the resemblance to real objects, are not identical to them. They exist in the conventional art world, where these objects are transformed by the artist. Color, line, shapes become expressive of the artist’s individuality, his thoughts and feelings. Post-impressionists went further in denying dogmas, forms, canons of academic art. However, Post-impressionism is inseparable from Impressionism. This two-phase period of the decomposition of traditional academic system and the transition to the art of the 20th century.

Galenson D. W., Weinberg. B. A. (Sep., 2001). Creating Modern Art: The Changing Careers of Painters in France from Impressionism to Cubism. The American Economic Review. Published by: American Economic Association. Vol. 91, No. 4, pp. 1063-1071. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/2677826 Hauser, A. (2005). The Social History of Art: Naturalism, impressionism, the film age. VolGogh.4, London, New York. Roskill, M. W. (1970). Van Gogh, Gauguin and the Impressionist circle. Thames & Hudson (London). Book (ISBN 0500490015). Wadley, N. (1991). Impressionist and post-impressionist drawing. L. King (London). Book (ISBN 1856690083). Rewald, J. (1973). The history of impressionism. Museum of Modern Art (New York and Greenwich,
Conn.). Book (ISBN 0870703606). 4th, rev. edition.

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