This is a general outline and guide that suggests how Impressionist Art can be taught as a subject.
It is important to define the social and cultural atmosphere in Europe during the years when the movement began to arise. It reflects not only the attitude towards this form of
art, that was considered highly progressive but also the subject matter that the painters chose to deal
with. The birth of the Industrial Revolution encouraged a new faith in the individual - his potential and his rights. Romantic painters such as
Eugene Delacroix began to celebrate individuality in their paintings. At the same time there was also discontent in areas such Paris due to the disparities in the community. All of this affected the artists' way of thinking.
More than the subject matter, it is the innovative techniques of the Impressionists that stand out. Many critics wrote unfavorable reviews about early Impressionists. The art world was not
acquainted with a form of art that strayed from the perfections of Realism. It was more artistic and
representory than other forms of painting and was thought to be highly radical.
for information on color and method see Techniques <link>
A selection of works that bring out different aspects of Impressionism as a style should be chosen for students to study.
Given slides/prints of paintings students must consider:
The use of color and lighting. Students should also look at the palettes of Impressionists.
How the painting might differ from a Realist representation of the same subject.
The use of perspective and how colors can be used to show perspective.
The brush technique and how the brushstrokes describe different textures.
The subject matter of the painting and it's relationship to the technique. Different subject matter to consider are still life , street scenes, landscapes etc.
see Techniques for detailed information
The students can play the roles of exhibitors and art critics. For example, one group can collect prints to organize an exhibition and another group can analyze the works and act as critics. The first group should
explain why they chose those paintings and the other group should justify their criticism.
Have the students choose an everyday scene that they would want to paint and tell the class why the made that
choice; that is , the artistic potential of the subject matter.
Ask students to study objects in motion and sketch a few subjects. Some Impressionists such as Degas studied perspective and motion blur through photography.
Ask the students to experiment with optics and write a report on how optical innovations and photography affected Impressionists.
A practical set up can be created with different materials including glass, tinted
Mylar for color etc. and different light sources.