Probably one of the best-known artistic movements, Impressionism is epitomised by the works of artists such as Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir and Pissarro. Led by the French artist Claude Monet in the nineteenth century, the term Impressionism was coined by one of his paintings, ‘Impressionist, Sunrise’. He became the focal point of an exciting movement of French artists who wanted to challenge the status quo of The French Royal Academy and its Salon. The artists were united in their goal to depict day-to-day French life, challenging the conventional rules of painting. Typically, classical paintings were executed in the artists’ studio using models and numerous studies; however, the Impressionists painted in the open air drawing directly from real life and using natural light to capture the atmosphere of their scenes and create snapshots of French life. Using loose brush strokes, their work was accused of having an almost unfinished appearance which caused controversy in the French art world.
While in their lives their paintings were little appreciated, today they are easily among the most recognisable and widely appreciated works of art.