Impressionism was a revolutionary art movement that originated in Paris in the late 19th century. It was a departure from established artistic norms and heralded a new period in the development of the visual arts. Rather than creating highly detailed and realistic depictions of the world, Impressionist artists sought to capture the momentary impressions of light and colour in their paintings. They weren’t concerned with accuracy so much as with conveying the mood and atmosphere of the scene. The result was a shattered style of brushwork and a riot of colour.

The fleeting effects of sunlight and the beauty of nature provided the Impressionist artists with inspiration. They also tried to capture the essence of the urbanised, modern world, complete with its teeming city streets and cutting-edge technology. The artists frequently worked en plein air (outdoors) to capture the scene’s ever-shifting lighting and ambience.

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Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Berthe Morisot are just a few of the most well-known Impressionist artists. Artist Claude Monet is often called the “father of Impressionism” for his series of paintings depicting water lilies and his views of the Rouen Cathedral. Renoir is better known for his portraits and scenes from everyday life, while Degas is better known for his paintings of dancers and horse races. The only female Impressionist, Morisot is celebrated for her depictions of women and domestic life.

As a result of questioning canonical art practises and expanding the parameters of artistic expression, the Impressionist movement had far-reaching effects on the art world. It was instrumental in launching the Post-Impressionist and Fauvist art movements. Many of the most prestigious museums and art galleries in the world feature Impressionist paintings because of their high value and popularity. Its emphasis on capturing a moment’s vitality and expressing emotion through colour and brushwork continues to serve as an inspiration to modern artists.