Impressionism - Maurice Serullaz

Impressionism - Maurice Serullaz

Impressionism: The First Modern Movement


Impressionism was a revolutionary art movement that emerged in the late 19th century, breaking away from the traditional academic style that had dominated the art world for centuries. Led by a group of young, rebellious artists, Impressionism sought to capture the fleeting moments of everyday life, emphasizing the effects of light and color on the canvas. This book, "Impressionism" by Maurice Serullaz, provides a comprehensive exploration of this groundbreaking movement, offering a deeper understanding of its origins, key figures, and lasting impact on the art world.

The Birth of Impressionism

Impressionism emerged in Paris during the 1860s, a time of great social and cultural change. The city was undergoing rapid modernization, with new boulevards and parks being constructed, and the rise of photography challenged traditional artistic practices. In this dynamic environment, a group of young artists, including Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, and Camille Pissarro, began to experiment with new ways of seeing and representing the world around them.

Key Figures of Impressionism

At the heart of Impressionism were a group of talented and passionate artists who pushed the boundaries of artistic expression. Claude Monet, considered the father of Impressionism, is renowned for his series of paintings depicting the changing light and weather conditions at different times of the day. Pierre-Auguste Renoir captured the beauty and sensuality of the human form, while Edgar Degas explored the movement and rhythm of everyday life. Camille Pissarro, the elder statesman of the group, provided guidance and support to his fellow artists and played a crucial role in shaping the movement's aesthetic.

Impressionist Techniques and Innovations

Impressionist artists rejected the traditional techniques and subjects of academic art, opting instead to paint en plein air (outdoors) and focus on capturing the fleeting impressions of the natural world. They used short, quick brushstrokes and experimented with pure, unmixed colors, creating a sense of spontaneity and immediacy in their works. Their paintings were characterized by vibrant colors, loose brushwork, and a focus on the effects of light and atmosphere.

The Salon des Refusés and Public Reception

In 1863, the Salon de Paris, the official art exhibition in Paris, rejected a number of works by Impressionist artists, deeming them too radical and unconventional. In response, the artists organized their own exhibition, known as the Salon des Refusés (Salon of the Rejected), which showcased their groundbreaking works. Despite initial criticism and ridicule from the public and art critics, the Impressionists gradually gained recognition and acclaim, eventually revolutionizing the art world.

Impressionism's Legacy and Influence

Impressionism had a profound impact on the development of modern art, opening up new possibilities for artistic expression and influencing subsequent movements such as Post-Impressionism, Fauvism, and Cubism. The Impressionists' emphasis on capturing the fleeting moments of life and their innovative use of color and brushwork continue to inspire artists and captivate audiences to this day.


"Impressionism" by Maurice Serullaz is a must-read for anyone interested in art history, modern art, or the Impressionist movement. With its comprehensive analysis, stunning illustrations, and engaging narrative, this book offers a captivating journey into the world of Impressionism, shedding light on its origins, key figures, techniques, and lasting legacy. Whether you are an art enthusiast, a student, or simply someone curious about the world of art, this book will provide you with a deeper understanding and appreciation of one of the most influential art movements in history.