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Impressionism and Post-Impressionism Art Movements

Imagination, Values, and Emotions

Impressionism as an art movement began in the 19th century courtesy of coming together of Paris-based artists who rose to fame in the 1870s and 1890s as a consequence of their independent exhibitions. Impressionism in art and music might be characterized as a precursor to today's discipline of scientific fuzzy thinking. The impressionism movement took place primarily in France at the end of the 19th century (Clancy, 2003). One of the characteristics employed by impressionism painters was asymmetrical balance. Impressionist painters had their minds set on bringing forth a sense of immediacy. They stressed on new components such as cropped forms, asymmetrical balancing of components as well as perspective plunging.

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Painters who preceded impressionists mainly used neutral tones, some grays and black to capture shadows. However, impressionists used color instead. Some of the major colors used included yellows, purples and others to suggest reflected light and shadows. This involved application of pure colors, fresh and unmixed directly on to the palette. Though each color was applied separately, the human eye upon closer inspection was able to fuse them together and bring out a sense of vibrating atmosphere and shining light. Initially, the term impressionism meant a piece of art that looked unfinished and a bit of a sketch diagram. It involves the application of paint in such a way as to create an irregular surface. The paint is applied to bring out mosaic-like patches on the canvas on which paintings were done then. In addition, the paintings seems to have smooth surfaces and it is achieved by applying the paint in thick raised strokes (impasto). Through this, a painter can achieve a roughened texture that resembles that of the subjects and at the same time reflects and captures light.

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For impressionists, the subject matter is usually a casual one that captures everyday life. Many of the impressionist artists found inspiration in old homes, bridges constructed from timber and natural scenes from the rural areas. In order to achieve a plunging perspective, artists employed various compositions one of which was a high horizon line. For example, in Matilda Browne's painting (in voorhees' garden, 1914), the house is well captured and seen to sit at the top of the canvas whereas the bottom half is filled with gardens and pathway.

Many social conditions may have contributed to the advent of impressionism in the 19th century. Many art movements sprung up during the time of Britain's industrialization and were attributed to the then feelings coupled with the art movements that preceded them. By the time industrial revolution established itself, some artists were at longer ends with what it brought along with it. Instead of painting their arts in real beauty, they painted what they saw physically at any one given time and place and in the process captured the fresh and original version of their arts. They at most times did their paintings outdoors so that they could capture the diversity of nature more directly and this helped them bring out its most fascinating aspects.

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Immediately after impression, another art came forth; post-impressionism. Post-impressionism is an art movement which is an extension of impressionism but goes against the many limitations present in impressionism. The term post-impressionism was brought forth by Roger Fry as he got himself ready for an exhibition in London in the year 1910. Fry coined the umbrella term "post-impressionism" to describe the works featured in the 1910 and 1912 shows he organized at the Grafton Galleries in London (Lewis, 2007). Post-impressionism as a movement began in the early mid 1880s up to early 1900s. The term post-impressionism serves two roles in that it shows their connection to the original ideas of impressionists as well as the break away and departure from such ideas.

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Just like their predecessors, post-impressionists had their own characteristics. They were merely a diverse group and therefore there wasn't a broad range of common characteristics that could have unified them. Each post-impressionist took up a certain characteristic of impressionism and exaggerated it. For example, the artist Vincent Van Gogh exaggerated the already vibrant colors characteristic of impressionism and put them thickly on canvas. These brushstrokes portrayed brought forth feelings of emotion. He is therefore seen as against impressionism but a great advocate of expressionism, an art movement characterized by use of extreme emotional content. In other cases, the broken brushwork characteristic of impressionist artists was changed and developed into the thousands of dots that bring about a texture of pointillism. This was developed by Georges Seurat while Paul Cezanne improvised the impressionists color separations and modified them into whole plane color separations.

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Most of the post-impressionism artists began as impressionists but deviated from this style later each to follow his own highly conserved art. Impressionism was based on a very strict note, on the coverage of nature with special emphasis on the effects brought out by color and light. However, post-impressionists were not comfortable with this limited aim and did away with it in favor of a more elegant expression. The post-impressionists organized their exhibitions together contrary to their impressionist counterparts. Differences between impressionism and post-impressionism were widely evident through out these two movements. Some of the major differences between these two art movements included;

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Impressionists derived pleasure from painting what they saw, retinal experiences and empirical form of data. The post-impressionists on the other hand relied on perpetual experiences as the sole source of material which they transformed through imagination, use of intellectual knowledge and memory.

Impressionists brought out their works objectively whereas the post-impressionists transformed their objective experiences gained from the outside or exterior world  into statements of subject which described a more conserved and interior world. In addition, impressionists concerned themselves with arts of specific time and their techniques were more or less similar while the post-impressionists were not concerned with the temporally nature characteristic of the world.

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Impressionists were confined within the conventions of illusionism which had been advanced during the time of aerial and linear perspectives. To the contrary, the post-impressionists did not like the idea of been confined to illusionism and instead sought other logics of picturing which did not depend on the position of a spectator at any one given time and place. Now these post-impressionist artists have discovered empirically that to make the allusion to a natural object of any kind vivid to the imagination, it is not only necessary to give it illusive likeness, but that such illusion of actuality really spoils its imaginative reality (Lewer, 2006).

The impressionists produced paintings which were described as "slices of life". The post-impressionists pictures were autonomous and were identified as surfaces vertically arranged and covered with different pigment colorings. Post impressionism is thought to have gave birth to early the modern art as described by one of the earliest art historians who did his paintings professionally, John Rewald. Rewald saw it as a continuation of his impressionist arts and even went further to say that a second edition of the transformation of impressionism was to follow and would extent to the 19th and the 20th century.

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