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What's your impression on Impressionism? Karim Rahman explains all you need to know to sound like an art critic.

I've been harping on about Modern Art for a while now, acting all high and mighty and trying to educate people on the origins and movements that defined that particular period. But, me being myself, I have failed to mention one thing: how it all began. How was the modern art movement sparked? What made all those traditional artists break free of the chains of the Parisian school and start exploring other forms of art that are directly linked with their emotions and individual perceptions, as opposed to the picture-perfect depiction of reality the school of Paris enforced upon artists pre-Classical and Renaissance era (that's pre-1870 if you were wondering)? What was the FIRST modern art movement? Rejoice, artist and art enthusiast readers. I'm here to introduce you to the fantastical and whimsical world of Impressionism.

What is Impressionism? Impressionism started out as a rejection to the preconceptions of the Academy of Arts in Paris. Instead of aiming for a traditional and objective depiction of the world, Impressionist artists focused more on a subjective and personal take on things, dealing with subjective perceptions rather than objective ones. It was characterised by rough, ready brush strokes and an experimental use of colours.

History of Impressionism: The term was first coined by critic Louis Leroy in a group exhibition he visited in April of 1874, deriving the term from a title of French artist Claude Monet's work "Impression, Sunrise (1873)". Leroy felt the term "Impressionism" summed up a large number of the works on display: works that appeared to be quick sketches rather than finalised pieces of work, with a huge sense of spontaneity behind them. This was at odds with the French school of arts, which leaned for more classical representations of the world, so you can see how Impressionism is viewed as a sort of rebellion against traditional arts. Another major shift that Impressionism caused was that the artists now started organising their own shows, taking the power out of the hands of the Academy's Salon, and witnessed a departure from the historical and allegorical subjects the Academy preferred, and instead portrayed incidents from every day modern life. In a nutshell: the Academy is a collection of boring, old men who refuse to diversify and explore the limits of their mind. French artists got sick of it. They rebelled and did pretty things. Impressionism was born, thus marking the start of the modern art movement.

Famous Impressionist Artists: Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley.

Examples of Impressionist Paintings:

"Impression, Soleil Levant" by Claude Monet (1872)
"Bal du moulin de la Gallette" by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1876)
"Bridge at Villeneuve-la-Garenne" by Alfred Sisley (1872)

It should be noted that Egypt begat one of the world's most esteemed Impressionist painters, Chafik Charobim, who left a legacy of over 186 paintings before dying in 1975.