Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Impression of the Impressionists

Word is that Monet's “Railroad Bridge at Argenteuil,” a canvas from 1873, sold recently at an auction at Christie’s for $41.4 million — a record for the artist. With the dollar down in relation to the Euro, European art collectors are coming out of the wood work to take advantage of this current economic trend.

When I saw this pricey image online recently, I was faced with an oxymoron I had never considered. Monet and other impressionists were painting concurrently with the Industrial Revolution. I had always thought of this romantic vision of the world including such famous images as ballerinas, flowers, fields and pre-John Deere haystacks happened before steam engines and sewing machines.

The romantic quality of Impressionist painting includes visible brush strokes, open composition, emphasis on light with its transient qualities, the portrayal of ordinary subject matter, and often the inclusion of movement as a crucial element of human perception and experience including sometimes unusual visual angles. For more information on the Impressionist Era click here. --Ruth Mitchell

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