Did You Know: The Difference Between Impressionism and Expressionism

The Impressionist movement came after the invention of the camera and was a reaction to a rapidly changing urban environment. It originated with the Anonymous Society of Painters, Sculptors, and Engravers in late 19th century Paris. Impressionism rejected the restrictions of the realism style of their predecessors. Instead of giving a realistic rendering of an object, Impressionists such as Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir Renoitprovided an ‘impression’ of whatever they were painting. Impressionists attempted to portray an analysis of emotion as well as aesthetic within their work, and often explored the theme of isolation within a crowd. They mixed unblended pigments to create the sense of movement in their colors and worked in short, hurried brush strokes. Impressionism attempts to preserve the essentials of the thing being painted while at the same time trying to give the feeling of the thing by exaggerating colors and textures.

Expressionism moved even further away from Realism.  It developed in the early 20th century in Germany and Austria. It has a primary intention of expressing feelings and didn’t stop at exaggeration of color. Instead it often distorts an image in order to convey an emotion. Some Expressionist painters such as Jackson Jackson Pollock.PNGPollock did away with the idea of using an ‘image’ to focus their work on altogether. In addition to this, Expressionism relies on gestural brush strokes and lurid color to articulate a state of mind. Despite the difference in style used to create the painting, Expressionists also explored the idea of isolation and other anxieties in life as a response to the often dehumanizing effects of the industrial era.

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