The Impressionists, who got their name from one of Monet's paintings, were interested in the effects of light. It was their "attempt to accurately and objectively record visual reality in terms of transient effects of light and colour" (2). Impressionis m was more of a state of mind than an actual technique, for the artists did not depend on the division of color. It is true that the brush strokes are separate, but the artists focused on the method of observation, not theory. Impressionism is based more on emotions and the passing moment than on science. For this reason, Impressionist works are sketches. Artists like Monet worked outside to capture the effects of the constantly changing atmosphere. Lively colors and quick brushs strokes were used to capture the texture of the subject and the impact of light on its surface rather than individual details. Instead of mixing colors on a palette, Impressionists placed the brush strokes on the canvas and let the viewer's eye do the mixing of colors.


The Neo-Impressionist movement took the colors and themes of Impressionism, but rejected the Impressionists' ephemeral treatment of their subjects. Lead by Seurat, the Neo-Impressionists to ok a more systematic approach to art. They focused on the theory and division of color and vision, breaking things down to a more fundamental and basic level (see Reductionism). For example , through pointilism, Seurat broke the image on his canvas down into tiny dots of color.

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Article: Jennifer King

May 25, 1996.