Art Glossary: Impressionism / Impressionists


Impressionist was an art movement that started in France around 1870 which attempted to capture the fleeting impressions or feeling of a scene, rather than detailed realism.

The term Impressionist was first used by the art critic Louis Leroy in his review of the 1874 group show of more than 30 painters who'd been rejected by the official Paris Salon. Leroy titled his review, The Exhibition of the Impressionists, after Monet's painting called Impression: Sunrise. This painting is now in the collection of the Musée Marmottan in Paris.

Monet and Renoir are perhaps the best-known Impressionists.

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