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Was Édouard Manet an Impressionist Painter?

            It is impossible to respond to such a question without first defining the term Impressionism, knowing what the Impressionist movement was and also knowing what it meant to be an Impressionist. The author of 'How To Paint And Draw', Bodo W. Jaxtheimer had this to say on Impressionism, "It would be wrong to regard Impressionism as a break in the development of art, although it contradicted so much that had gone before. Impressionism is better regarded as an apex of a symmetrical curve which begins by turning away from naturalism.".
             The term 'Impressionism' is used to define the style of art that emerged in the 19th century beginning in Paris, France and later sweeping across Europe in not only painting but in other art forms like sculpture, literature and photography. With Impressionism we see the first step into modern art, with artists paying less attention to fine finish and detail and instead trying to capture moments as they happened, the sensory effect of a scene rather than the perfection of it, and the 'impression' that that fleeting moment imprinted on the eye. Impressionists were known for their use of bright colors, loose brushstrokes and painting outdoors, en plein air. They were criticised by more traditional artists and art critics at the time for the lack of finish and skill of their work.
             Born to a wealthy family in 1832 in Paris, France, Édouard Manet began his artistic training in the atelier of Thomas Couture, who, though he identified as a Realist, was recognised as an innovative artist with his own unique style and technique. Couture had set up his school in competition with the main school of art in Paris at the time. Between 1853 and 1856 Manet traveled through Italy, German and Holland and it was there that he saw the works of painters such as Hals, Velasquez and Goya who would later prove to have huge influence over his work. Hals was known for his loose brushstrokes, and, interestingly, his intuitive ability to capture a moment in the life of his subjects.

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