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Celebrated Impressions from the Painters of Paris

Impressionist exhibitions are among the most visited ones at art museums today. Why are so many people flocking to see the masterpieces of the Impressionists? Is it the reality of the life portrayed, the depiction of people at work, celebrations, recreation, city streets, the countryside, and transportation? Is it the portrayal of the poor and the wealthy of that time period? Is it the colors, light, and brushstrokes used by these painters that are aesthetically inspiring? All of these factors are important and contribute to the unique image of nineteenth century Paris that Impressionist works convey. With this in mind, I have planned this curriculum unit to enhance students’ knowledge of Impressionist art and history. A study of the Impressionists can have students compare the way people lived during the Impressionist time period to the way people live today, helping them to get a better understanding of how society changes over time.

What made these artists of Paris want to pursue their new vision in the face of harsh criticism? The fact that people sometimes react badly to change is an idea we will explore in this curriculum. Students will be asked to examine their own feelings about new ideas, and learn about the Impressionist’s perseverance in the face of opposition. Students will learn about some of the more famous master Impressionist artists and how these artists represented a new vision of artistic expression.

Debra Migden
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