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Painting - Impressionism and Expressionism

            In the mid-nineteenth century, when Paris was undergoing change, the Académie des Beaux-Arts was in control of French art. The Académie ensured that they always preserved the traditional French standards with regard to the style of painting and content that was being produced. Acceptable content for public display was portraits, historical stories and religious themes. They did not accept landscape and still-life paintings. Paintings also had to be carefully finished with a realistic look upon close examination. Such paintings had to have extremely meticulous brush strokes that were blended in so well that one could not see the artist's hand in the art piece. Another requirement was that colours had to be subtle and toned down with golden varnish. .
             Impression is an art movement that originated in Paris in the 1860s. The movement came about when artists of the time decided to rebel against the official rules of academic painting. They defied the norms by painting using short brush strokes as opposed to the blended, smooth strokes that were expected of artists in that time. Paris was going through a massive change in the mid-nineteenth century when Emperor Napoleon III decided to renovate Paris and conduct war. When Paris underwent these major renovations; there were newly built railway stations, much wider roads and luxurious apartment buildings. The Impressionist artists often focused on painting the everyday leisure activities occurring in the "new" Paris. In doing so, they captured the inhabitants' feeling of alienation in the changing city. They also chose to paint these realistic scenes from modern life and painted outdoors instead of in studios, which opposed what was expected at that time. The Impressionists did this as they felt that they could capture the temporary, passing effects that light created on subject matter according to the changes in time, weather and other atmospheric changes.

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