Art in the 19th Century: Realism, Impressionism and Post Impressionism
19th century was a revolutionary age in terms of art. Realism, impressionism and post impressionism are all the products of 19th century. The focus of Realism, as the name suggests was on the reality. It had shifted its focus from all the characteristics of Romanticism to focus on the real things. Among the most notable names of this period were Manet, Courbet, Bonheur etc. The focus of the art of this period was to bring art closer to real life. So, the subject matter for art during this era was picked from real life situations. Whether in art or literature, the topics included events and scenes from daily life like farmers, landscapes, workers and other aspects of life that were observable. In this era, the artists tried to depict things they saw just as they were without romanticizing or sentimentalizing. So, the artists had done away with their personal style and were mostly focused at making things more and more realistic or truthful. Art of this age was about recreating the reality. The period lasted from 1840 to 1880.
After the end of realism, came the impressionism era that lasted from 1886 to 1891. Its peak years were from 1886 to 1891. However, it had influenced nearly all the artists and scupltors. Monet, Degas and Pessarro were the founding members of the Impressionism movement. Impressionism had initially been used as a derogatory term. Louis Leroy had created this term for Monet’s painting Impression: Sunrise. The central focus of the artists of this era was the effect of color and light and they mostly painted outdoor scenes. Mainly sunny landscapes, portraits, leisure scenes etc were created by artists in this period. With the end of Impressionism came Post Impressionism that lasted from 1886 to 1905 roughly. Among the most well-known post impressionists were Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Cezanne and Paul Gauguin. Post impressionism was not a style but a period. The artists of this period were taking the ideas of the impressionists further instead of just responding to the concerns of Impressionism. A wide range of distinct artistic styles could be found during the period. The nineteenth century saw several artistic revolutions taking place where the mainstay of these revolutions was France. Starting from the era of realism to post impressionism, 19th century saw the emergence of several art forms.