Also a style of musical composition, especially for the piano. The most well-known composer in this style was Claude Debussy.

Among Debussy's works that most illustrated this style, were his two books of preludes. The title of each prelude was placed at the end of each piece--each piece being absolute, and only an impression of something outside music.

The term "Impressionism" was coined by the French press as a deragatory nickname for a school of French painters who had their first exhibition in 1874. The name is based on two factors. The first is that the paintings looked sketchy and incomplete, like a faintly remembered first impression. The second, and less known factor (some experts say the real factor, is because of a painting done by Claude Monet (a founsing memeber of the school), Impression: Sunrise (1873). This Monet work was (and is) the single best embodiment of the Impressionist movement, and so the school was named for it.

Impression: Sunrise (1873) is currently housed in the Musée Marmottan in Paris.

Unlike realistic predecessors, the Impressionists were not interested in political subjects but rather in seeming-frivolous matters such as leisure, landscape and entertainment. The urban environment became popular, especially where large crowds (engaged in customarily urban activities, of course) were concerned. Influenced by imported Japanese prints and photographic developments, Impressionism was a logical development from realism - broad social observation translated into specific direct observations of human custom. Changes in and natural properties of light, colour, weather, reflections and shadows were all characteristics of the Impressionistic movement, which signalled the first use of darker shades of basic colours to express shadows, rather than shades of grey, black or brown. I call it Romanticism with textures.

Im*pres"sion*ism (?), n. [F. impressionnisme.] Fine Arts

The theory or method of suggesting an effect or impression without elaboration of the details; -- a disignation of a recent fashion in painting and etching.


© Webster 1913.

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