Impressionism was a trend in European culture – later also in American culture – that was initiated by painters in Paris and which lasted several decades during the period around the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.
The name “Impressionism” comes from the painting Impression, soleil levant (Impression, Sunrise) by Claude Monet, exhibited at the Paris exhibition in 1874. It was introduced in a satirical sense by Louis Leroy, but its influence spread quickly and began to define a new artistic direction, referring not only to the visual arts, but also to music and literature.
The goal of the Impressionists was to free themselves from the legacy of the Romantic era, the rigid principles of academism and pathos. The Impressionists were not interested in social issues, metaphysical problems or historical heroism. Rather, they tried to capture the ever-changing reality of life and perpetuate the subjective, fleeting impressions that it exerted on them.
The Impressionists needed creative freedom in accordance with the possibilities of a given field of art and a corresponding, specific means of expression. Form gained significance and ultimately dominance. On artistic values, in poetry, painting and music, the sublime, sensual action of words, colors and sounds was brought to the fore, appealing to an audience increasingly sensitive to subtle nuances.