Definition of impressionism in English:



mass noun
  • 1A style or movement in painting originating in France in the 1860s, characterized by a concern with depicting the visual impression of the moment, especially in terms of the shifting effect of light and colour.

    • ‘Their art style was bolder and more expressive than early impressionism.’
    • ‘Despite modern perceptions, realism and impressionism were never part of the mainstream.’
    • ‘French Impressionism had paved the way for all subsequent 20th century art movements.’
    • ‘Claude Monet was one of the founding fathers of French Impressionism.’
    • ‘Like impressionism, Art Nouveau was a rebellion against classical and traditional art.’
    • ‘A late 19th century movement, impressionism is on the opposite side of the spectrum to Expressionism.’
    • ‘Impressionism is loved everywhere for its beautiful light and color and for its modern view of life.’
    • ‘After 1880 the public slowly begun to recognize the value of impressionism.’
    • ‘The catalogue covers major painting movements from Realism to impressionism and Naive Art.’
    • ‘My fourth-graders had been studying painting periods such as Romanticism, impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Cubism, Abstractionism and Surrealism.’
    • ‘Most of the members of the group had studied in Paris in the 1880s and the common factor in their work was an interest in impressionism.’
    • ‘It took nearly 20 years until impressionism was finally recognized and appreciated in France.’
    • ‘On returning to America he settled in New York, where he developed a brighter palette influenced by French Impressionism.’
    • ‘In the 1880s, when impressionism began to become popular in the eyes of the public, it had in reality gone into crisis.’
    • ‘The complete accessibility and popularity of impressionism today makes it hard to recapture the radicalism in style that shocked and outraged the world with its first appearance in France in the 1870s.’
    • ‘Impressionism started as a rebellion of a few young artists in Paris around 1863 against a rigid art establishment.’
    • ‘Impressionism had revolutionized the traditional art world.’
    • ‘In a period in which artists divided into strict artistic camps - naturalism, Realism, impressionism, academicism - Moreau fell between the cracks.’
    • ‘Matisse's career was long and varied, covering many styles of painting from impressionism to near Abstraction.’
    • ‘The history of modern art started with impressionism.’
    1. 1.1 A literary or artistic style that seeks to capture a feeling or experience rather than to achieve accurate depiction.
      • ‘Minimalist art is not a recognizable style like impressionism, but rather an art movement.’
      • ‘His works have covered many different styles from impressionism to his own take on the classical style, and all reflect his mastery of the medium.’
      • ‘The company produces limited edition fine art prints that are directly applied to textured canvas, with varying styles from abstract to impressionism.’
      • ‘California artist Henri Plisson has moved beyond the boundaries of impressionism and into an era of 'emotional expressionism'.’
      • ‘Writers and poets also embraced Impressionism, and began to use imagism and symbolism to convey their impressions, rather than the objective characteristics of certain events and objects.’
      • ‘Landscapes remain the top-selling subject for galleries, and Realism remains the top-selling style, outpacing the next-best seller, impressionism, by a two-to-one ratio.’
      • ‘Vallieres paints in all styles: impressionism, Expressionism, Realism, abstract and portraits.’
    2. 1.2Music A style of composition (associated especially with Debussy) in which clarity of structure and theme is subordinate to harmonic effects, characteristically using the whole-tone scale.
      • ‘The concert begins with Ravel's only string quartet, a vibrant and dissonant work of French impressionism.’
      • ‘The Prelude for Orchestra opens slowly in a way that reminds us, if nothing else, of musical impressionism's roots in Wagner.’
      • ‘The score deftly combines Thai folk music and French impressionism in a rhapsodic manner.’
      • ‘Hashimoto incorporated musical influences as disparate as impressionism, jazz, and traditional Japanese music.’
      • ‘His formative student years were spent in Paris as a pupil of d' Indy at the Schola Cantorum, though he learnt more from the impressionism of Debussy and Ravel.’


From French impressionnisme, from impressionniste, originally applied unfavourably with reference to Monet's painting Impression: soleil levant (1872).