Impressionism-Love it or Hate it?

I have a hard time stating “I love Impressionism” but I do believe after studying it I have become a lukewarm fan. Some people go totally gooey over Impressionist art while others are left totally cold, I am somewhere in between. Impressionist art varies greatly from one artist to an other, and  I can say that I have serious preferences for particular works within this era of art.

For example I love this work by Berthe Morisot. The painting is not overly detailed, and  the eye is drawn to the middle first and then, freed to take in the entire room.

Julie Manet and Her Greyhound Laerte, 1893
Oil on canvas
Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris

On the other hand I do not care for this work by  Pierre Auguste Renoir. The painting is  so jumbled and stuffed with activity that I find it difficult to focus.

Le Moulin de la Galette 1870 Musée d’Orsay

With Impressionist art, the method and technique of the painter is sometimes considered more important than the content of the painting. Impressionist artist tended to use sketchy, loose brushstrokes and lines, as well as thick applications of paint and dabs of colors. When viewed Impressionist paintings blend together the fusion of several colors to create a subject. The artist was trying to capture a fleeting moment in time. Subjects are of the here and now, not from the past, or of grand people or things. Most subjects are outdoors and reflect pleasant moments and the amusements of the middle and upper class usually outdoors. At museums a viewer can see dozens of pictures of people strolling, standing by the sea, sailing on a lake, country scenes of rolling hills, mills and other landscapes.

Art changed dramatically in the latter half of 19th century. The focus shifted away from the subject matter and more toward new and unusual techniques. Of course the very precise exacting lines and techniques required for Baroque art are probably technically, more difficult, than the hazy, simple more lovely form of Impressionism.

For example look at this Baroque ceiling painting! This is more than artwork it is a creation unto itself.  The detail is fantastic and the scope of the painting is awe-inspiring.

Fresco with Trompe l’oeuil – Andrea Pozzo -Jesuit Church Vienna,

Gloria di Sant’Ignazio, Roma, Sant’Ignazio, 1685

Truth be told, Baroque works such as this inspire me far more than any Impressionist paintings. But as most would be far to grand to have a place in my house, I will hang my walls with more modern works (or at least prints) including those from the Impressionist era.



  1. 1
    kwichert Says:

    I love the paintings that you chose. The Berthe Morisote is lovely with that misty, loose pastel painting but I understand it not being your thing. The other painting is much more detailed and yes has alot going on. I must admit that Impressionism is my favorite painting style.
    The Baroque ceiling is beautiful and so impressive. I like your critique.

    • 2

      Thank you for your kind words, I know it is hard to be generous when you are reading something that you do not agree with. I do enjoy a lot of Impressionism art, but, it does not grab me like Baroque.

  2. 3
    jduvall89 Says:


    You did a fantastic job at reviewing the impressionistic style with supporting pictures and details. I like the pictures you chose as well. You had sources and cites for the paintings and your own opinion. The history review was also a good add on. You also did a good job at referencing to the Baroque area, I agree it was much more detailed then impressionism.

    Great thorough review.

  3. 5
    Capt. Russ Says:

    Hey Amy,

    If you don’t like Bal du moulin de la Galette by Renoir, then I’d say Impressionism isn’t for you! The clutter is exactly why it is such an unbelievable piece; it is about normal people and the richness that exists in the cluttered lives we live in cluttered cities with all of our cluttered feelings! I absolutely love Impressionist art, but it has been an acquired taste. For me, I’ve learned to appreciate it more and more as I’ve learned to appreciate people. I started out liking surrealism, but now I find it shallow and uninteresting. Just wanted to share 🙂

    P.S. I’d struggle to say that Impressionist art isn’t technically difficult… try to paint something like Renoir or Toulouse-Lautrec or Monet… it’s not as easy as it might seem! They were truly masters of their technique.

  4. 6
    luli Says:

    very nice!

  5. 7
    liza Says:

    :)))))))))))))))))))))))))) beautiful

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