Introduction to Impressionism
The Impressionist movement started in the late 1860’s in France. A group of artists decided to leave their studio started paint in the open air (en plain air). This was easier now as oil colours were now produced in metal tubes therefore the artist did not have to mix the paint himself. These artists included Monet, Pissarro, Sisley and Degas. The first exhibition gave these artists their name after Louis Leroy said that Monet’s painting was not a finalised painting but an “impression”.
The impressionists did not rely on realism. They tried to work as quickly as possible to capture the atmosphere and mood of the moment. they mostly did away with painting life around them. Monet showed how colour was affected by light, by drawing the same subject during different times of day. This artist drew the Rouen Cathedral several times in different times of the day.
Claude Monet painted 'Gare St. Lazare' in Paris in 1877. one can nowadays appreciate this work of art in the muse d'Orsay in Paris. He made several paintings of train stations because he rented a room next to a train station and made it his studio. This was a change for Monet as he usually painted rural landscape not urban landscape. One can say that this painting has a gritty emotion because of all the steam of the engines in the painting. the theme of the paints is, the modern and industrial. The most radical thing in the painting the coal burning steam that covers the foreground of the picture. In the previous city that he lived in he used to include modern scenery like chimneys and modern bridges in the background but in this picture the emphasis is on modern society. The painting is very flat, despite the diagonals. We can see the qualities of an impressionist as Monet is more interested in light properties and not techniques such as foreshortening or perspective.
Claude Monet | The Gare St-Lazare | NG6479 | The National Gallery, London. 2015. Claude Monet | The Gare St-Lazare | NG6479 | The National Gallery, London. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/claude-monet-the-gare-st-lazare. [Accessed 09 December 2015].