A painting is a snapshot from life, a blink of an eye, one moment in time. Yet, art is sometimes considered to be “fine art” from a realist’s perspective. This means that the closer to realistic that a painting gets, the artist is considered more talented. This is one reason why impressionism rocked the worlds of its first viewers. It appeared unfinished with visible brush strokes, and the artists obviously did not care to spend time on the details. This could not be farther from the truth.
Impressionism Liberates the Artist
Impressionist paintings actually liberated traditional artists who had to remove themselves from the settings of paintings in order to fill in details that could not possibly be remembered. Artists who paint in the realism fashion are talented, but they are removed from the subject of their art and subjected to the trivialities of details they would not have noticed in real life. Impressionist artists paint in the moment, and the details are shown in the quick impression of the moment rather than the reality of sharp edges and insignificant detail.
The impressionist painting may be completed at the scene of the painting. This is why the detail is not shown via individual blades of grass. Instead, entire landscapes are created while the light is still right to capture the moment. As a result, the painting is created more quickly. It is detailed from a distance, but those details morph into brush strokes as one steps closer to the canvas.
Impressionism is Realistic
The result of the possibly-quicker impressionist painting is actually more realistic than other forms of painting because it captures the essence of the moment. If you think back to childhood memories, they are filled with light and major elements but very little detail. That is because nothing else really matters. Like memories, impressionism paintings use light and observation to recreate scenes as they happen. They also capture the emotion of the moment. By using colors or light elements, the artist is able to capture the mood of the moment. It is something that no photograph can communicate because of the distraction of detail.
A Quick Impression
Impressionism is the quick impression of the moment captured through visual brushstrokes and without the ornate detail that realism provides. It is not a highly criticized method anymore, and artists like Monet are now revered for their ingenuity rather than judged on the “completeness” of their work. Impressionism expresses the idea of the moment, so in some ways it is much more accurate than other methods that don’t reflect emotion. In this way, the impressionist painter shows their talent for observation and portrayal.
dei gratia, Milessa