Impressionism vs. realism:  landscapes

In this gallery I have selected a few paintings that were made specifically for the impressionism or realism art category. I will be comparing and contrasting each type of painting. To be more specific, each painting is a landscape and each of these were made between the years 1850-early 1900s. The first 4 paintings are impressionism, which means the artist painted their feeling and visual impression, rather than focusing on realistic details. The last four paintings in this gallery are realism, meaning the opposite of impressionism, these artists took subjects from the world around them and intended to make them lifelike.

To start this gallery off, we have a painting by Claude Monet. In this piece of art, Monet is capturing his take of the sun hitting water. As it is visible to see, the overall painting looks blended together and it creates a sense of unity. It is clear to see that in this painting there are no outlines of anything, which is a reason this piece is considered impressionism.
This painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir was painted of the outer fields near Paris. The way of the color blotches and how they blend together make this piece apart of the impressionism era. Even though the colors blend together it is distinct enough to see the different parts of this landscape. The sky at the top, the rocks/mountain in the middle, and the grassy/dirt ground on the bottom.
Looking at this piece on its own, without glancing at the title beforehand, might make it difficult to figure out what exactly is going on in this painting. The sketchy lines put this piece of art into the impressionism movement, these lines are just one type of style that contribute to this particular movement. Once looking at the title, it was easy to see the snow covered landscape. Even though this isn't very clear, this is what the artist was trying to express, which is what impressionism is about.
The last painting that is within the impressionism era is this one by Paul Cézanne. This painting looks different than the other impressionism paintings because of the way the shapes are defined. Even though the shapes do have somewhat as a defined line, this is still an impressionism piece. If this were to be realism, the lines would be sharper and more distinct. Also, the colors would correspond perfectly with each other. In this painting it is noticeable that the sky, water, and even buildings have that unique brushstroke texture and also the mixture of a multitude of color that helps make this painting part of the impressionism movement.
The first painting in the realism movement of the gallery is Cliffs of Gréville, by Jean-François Millet. The cliff in this painting was near Millet's hometown, and he painted this with a lot of detail because he wanted to capture the reality of what this cliff really looked liked. He wanted to give the feeling of how he felt when looking at this area. This type of painting is different from impressionism by the way the brush strokes and colors are put together. There is a distinction of where everything is place that gives it a real effect.
Even though this piece isn't technically just a landscape, since there is a man in a boat in the center of the painting, there is still feel of landscape by the openness of the background. This painting shows something ordinary, a man in a boat, and part of realism is having the artist paint something from everyday life, to recreate an idea of what a real person would do. The landscape is painted as though it would be seen in person, by the way the colors change in the water, the farther it goes.
This next painting by Winslow Homer shows us a very accurate idea of what ocean waves really look like. The lines are very precise to get the splashing of the wave against the log to look as real as possible. Realism is about the artist taking what they see and showing us what they are looking at, rather than having them tell us what we are supposed to be looking at.
The last painting in the gallery is another one of Winslow Homer's landscapes. Comparing this painting to Auguste Renoir's, Snow-covered Landscape, it clear that this is a realism painting. Even though these two works of art are completely different seasons and have a different idea, the overall paint technique is quite different. Renoir uses a more sketchy and blended technique, while Homer uses distinct lines so it is easier to tell where each tree is. The differences in each artwork is what puts them in the different art movements and each has its own uniqueness which makes it its own.
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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