I’ve found it fascinating to discover the process through which impressionist painters decided to value observation and capturing emotion over preconceived notions of the world. I was reading in The story of art about the way impressionist art which in itself is a spin-off of the “realist” movement the scathing critiques by which it was originally received.
When I started college with my minimal understanding of art history after the 1700’s, the impressionists had an “appealing” charisma: enjoyable, rich yet unchallenging. One day when walking through the LACMA, I shared my impression (pun intended) about their work to one of my dear friends, she answered me:
“I did too at your age, they are indeed simple, almost too simple now, why don;t we go visit some more contemporary work?”
As influenceable as I was (and remained?) I decided with little objection to objectify (pun?) impressionism as “intellectually sterile” choosing to obsess Baldessari for a change.
Now that I am receiving a richer insight into the upbringing of this movement I would like to edit, update my objectification: the impressionists were brilliant. Yes, some contemporary artists still mange to tickle my brain a little longer, but the work of Monet, Manet, Degas (I haven’t gotten to Rodin’s page, but I can’t wait!) for example and his ability to have found balance in a whirlwind of compromises between materialistic experimentation, challenging the canons of the academia, rooting himself in the present, and valuing the perceptive over the cognitive representation of his world leaves me dizzy in fuzzy delight.