Impressionism: Love it or Hate it?

21 Jun

Claude Monet Nympheas 1915, Munich

I think Impressionism is gorgeous, peaceful, and a genius concept.  It fell under much criticism due to its lack of line and structure, but what is more incredible about beauty than its fleeting qualities? Claude Monet created the above painting, Nympheas, in 1915 in Munich (  He often chose pond-like scenes, such as water lilies and weeping willows as his subjects.  These allowed for color, serenity, and dancing breezes and lighting.

Some Post-Impressionism works carry the same qualities.  Consider Van Gogh’s Starry Night Over the Rhone (below).  In this painting, you see the same light-play on the water, and undefined, fleeting details.

In contrast, let’s compare Impressionism and Post-Impressionism to its recent predecessor, Realism:

Whistler’s Mother, 1871, James McNeill Whistler (

Aside from the lack of focus on light and clearly defined lines, notice how there isn’t anything in the painting that could feel fleeting.  In fact, this piece feels hours long.  Viewing it is almost reminiscent of being a child and sitting in the stillness and silence while visiting an elderly relative with your parents.  Both styles have their appeal and are infused with moment-capturing talent.  However, the light of Impressionism is a well-captured treasure.



Posted by on June 21, 2012 in Uncategorized


2 responses to “Impressionism: Love it or Hate it?

  1. dfrau

    July 2, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    I too like Impressionism. Your comment on how beauty is fleeting and that Impressionism is able to captures this was very insightful. Whistler’s Mother is so interestingly arranged; I agree with you, the painting makes me feel the same way. There is no movement and your observation made me remember visits with old aunts, dressed in black, that seem to take forever. Do you only like the Impressionist style or also the Post-Impressionist style that is more going into the direction of modern? Good job in your citing and comparing the two styles.

  2. jadolena

    July 3, 2012 at 2:03 am

    I like how you structured your blog and how you showed multiple examples to illustrate your points and to help provide visual references. I especially like when you said “viewing it is almost reminiscent of being a child and sitting in the stillness and silence while visiting an elderly relative with your parents” when refering to Realism. I too think impressionism is much more exciting and much more interesting than some of the previous eras. Ovreall I think you did a very good job explaining why you like Impressionism and how it contrasted from Post-Impressionism and other eras.


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