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             In this essay, I shall try to examine how great a role colour played in the evolution of Impressionism. Impressionism in itself can be seen as a linkage in a long chain of procedures, which led the art to the point it is today. In order to do so, colour in Impressionism needs to be placed within an art-historical context for us to see more clearly the role it has played in the evolution of modern painting. In the late eighteenth century, for example, ancient Greek and Roman examples provided the classical sources in art. At the same time, there was a revolt against the formalism of Neo-Classicism. The accepted style was characterised by appeal to reason and intellect, with a demand for a well-disciplined order and restraint in the work. The decisive Romantic movement emphasized the individual's right in self-expression, in which imagination and emotion were given free reign and stressed colour rather than line; colour can be seen as the expression for emotion, whereas line is the expression of rationality. Their style was painterly rather than linear; colour offered a freedom that line denied. Among the Romanticists who had a strong influence on Impressionism were Joseph Mallord William Turner and Eugéne Delacroix. In Turner's works, colour took precedence over the realistic portrayal of form; Delacroix led the way for the Impressionists to use unmixed hues. The transition between Romanticism and Impressionism was provided by a small group of artists who lived and worked at the village of Barbizon. Their naturalistic style was based entirely on their observation and painting of nature in the open air. In their natural landscape subjects, they paid careful attention to the colourful expression of light and atmosphere. For them, colour was as important as composition, and this visual approach, with its appeal to emotion, gradually displaced the more studied and forma, with its appeal to reason.

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