"I'm increasingly obsessed by the need to render what I experience" : a study of temporality in Impressionist landscape painting

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2023-08-07

Authors

Valdez Carrasco, Alejandra Aimeé

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Abstract

Inspired by Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Les Rêveries du Promeneur Solitaire, I wish to reflect on landscape painting in terms of its relationship and interaction with humans. In painting, nature and its variations create a sensory experience and an accompanying emotional response that wholly occupies the mind and, therefore, liberates it. Expanding on this notion, I introduce Gustave Geffroy's seminal cultural and artistic studies La Vie Artistique, which stresses the importance of Impressionist art's ephemeral qualities. Geffroy argues that even though this type of art is based on temporary phenomena, it has the power to transcend the material qualities of the physical world. Although Impressionist painting surpassed the actions of its creators by becoming a legacy, something about the ephemeral qualities of Impressionist art and the process of its creation remains unnamed by scholars. By paying attention to this gap in Impressionist scholarship, I hope to bring a more nuanced perspective to the connection between landscape painting and the philosophical features of this art. Based on the practice of painting outdoors and creating art on the spot, the landscapes and scenes of everyday life become activated, and the art of capturing ephemeral moments in a tangible medium is converted into an experience with performative nuances. This study explores the immersive roots of Impressionism while focusing strictly on landscape painting. However, I wish to study landscape painting as an umbrella by covering both natural and urban landscapes. Regarding the artworks that will be selected for this study, I decided to work with two prominent representatives of the movement, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Claude Monet, not only because of their extensive body of work or historical fame but also due to their focus on specific types of landscapes.

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