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 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claude_monet). 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 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whistlers_Mother)
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.