Impressionism. Not to turn into an Art History Lesson, but it was created by Parisian artists in 1874 and continues to be a popular painting style. It’s easy to see why, with its prominent brush strokes and sweet pastel colors (or bold, bright hues). The obvious brush strokes portray an ambiance of spontaneity and romanticism within the artist, which in turn translates as passion to the viewer, and creates a bit of intimacy between the painting, the painter, and the viewer.
The focus of impressionism tends to be nature, but not reality, not nature as we see it; impressionism conveys the sublime side of nature. The potential beauty of every forest, sunset, flower, park, and river is dramatized, and the expressive, short strokes easily allow the artist to create variations of light. Some popular artists you might know from the era include Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and Camille Pissarro, all of whom also happened to be some of the founding members of Impressionism.
“Impressionism” was given its name by seventeenth century art critic Louis Leroy, who claimed that the art displayed at an opening exhibit in 1874 were merely sketches, or “impressions”. But these paintings are far more than just impressions; they portray the beauty of nature, and what’s more, the beauty beyond nature. In the words of Claude Monet himself: “I am following Nature without being able to grasp her; I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.”
These Zatista artists not only create and celebrate the beauty that is Impressionism, but also pay tribute to the beauty of nature. Every artist creates his or her own reality, and though these paintings might not reflect what we see, they reflect what could be, what exists in the mind. And in some cases, the painting is meant to reflect the actual beauty of the scene, just in a more raw form: the brash brush strokes allow the viewer to experience the full effect of light and color within the landscape. Reality or not, these paintings convey the variations of beauty within nature and the emotions that it invokes within artists and viewers alike, something that few art forms are able to express.
Samu, Margaret. “Impressionism: Art and Modernity”. In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/imml/hd_imml.htm (October 2004)