What was the Impressionist movement?

Impressionism is the term given to the single most important art movement of the 19th century. The basic aim of Impressionism was to realise a greater level of naturalism on canvas, through the precise use of colour and tone, with a strong emphasis on tonal effects. Along with the rendering of light on the surfaces of objects within the painting and the effects that the play of light had on the overall composition. The key to the movement was light and colour.

The key figures of the Impressionist movement were Monet, Pissarro and Sisley. The movement largely focused on the painting of landscapes, in the outdoors (en plein air), and catching moments or impressions in a short space of time. The nature of painting within the Impressionist movement meant that the traditional concepts of both drawing and composition would have to be set aside in order to achieve their naturalistic aims of capturing  short fleeting moments in time.
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