Room ten

Impressionism and after

room 10

The Impressionist style evolved in Paris in the early 1860s. Whereas many painters in France and Britain had emphasised social observation, the Impressionists were more concerned with nature and the properties of light. Artists such as Claude Monet studied changes in light and colour caused by weather conditions, times of day and the seasons.

Others, including Edgar Degas, studied the effects of natural and artificial light on the interior. Their brushwork often consisted of dabs of vivid colour far removed from the more 'finished' canvases of their predecessors. However these concerns did not entirely eliminate their interest in observing all levels of society and the changes brought about by growing industrialisation.

Many artists who followed were heavily influenced by the Impressionist style, while developing their own painterly language. They were still drawn to bright colour and distinct brushwork, but while some, such as Georges Seurat, explored the formal qualities of composition, others, such as the British artist Walter Sickert, brought greater emotional content into their paintings.

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