Difference Between Impressionism and Expressionism

Key Difference – Impressionism vs Expressionism
 

Impressionism and Expressionism are two movements that emerged in the world of art between which a key difference can be identified. Impressionism was an art movement that developed in the 1860s in Paris. Expressionism was a movement that emerged in 1905 in Germany.  The key difference between impressionism and expressionism is that while impressionism tried to capture the impression or the momentary effect of a scene, expressionism presented the exaggerated and distorted emotions through art. Through this article let us examine the differences between the two movements in detail.

What is Impressionism?

Impressionism was an art movement that developed in the 1860s in Paris. Impressionism had a great influence on artists across Europe and the United States. Impressionism began with artists who were often rejected by the well-established art institutions. The key feature of impressionism was that it tries to capture the impression. In other words, the artist focused on capturing the momentary effect of the scene. This entailed going beyond the reality and focusing on the light effects in a spontaneous manner.

Some of the artists associated with Impressionist movement are Alfred Sisley, Camille Pissaro, Mary Cassatt, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. These artists of the Impressionist movement tended to use vibrant colors when painting and also chose outdoor scenes as their subject. The specialty was that the majority of the paintings captures how a particular scene would look at a glimpse.

Difference Between Impressionism and Expressionism

What is Expressionism?

Expressionism was a movement that emerged in 1905 in Germany.  From 1905 to 1920, the classical phase of expressionism existed. In a way, this movement can be considered as a reaction to Impressionism. Also, expressionism stressed on the loss of authenticity and spirituality that was to be seen in the world. The distortion and exaggeration of the paintings highlight this idea very well. Also, the expressionist art depicted the social evils and stressed on themes such as capitalism, alienation, urbanization, etc.

The symbolist currents of the nineteenth-century art had a clear impact on expressionism. Vincent Van Gogh, James Ensor, Edvard Munch, Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall, Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Franz Marc and August Maske are some artists who were associated with the expressionist movement. Unlike the impressionists, expressionists tended to use strong colors to highlight a sense of darkness and anxiety. Another difference that can be stressed is that with the emergence of expressionism, the depiction of the external realities diminished and the depiction of internal emotions gained recognition.

Key Difference - Impressionism vs Expressionism

What is the difference between Impressionism and Expressionism?

Definitions of Impressionism and Expressionism:

Impressionism: Impressionism was an art movement that developed in the 1860s in Paris.

Expressionism: Expressionism was a movement that emerged in 1905 in Germany.

Characteristics of Impressionism and Expressionism:

Nature:

Impressionism: Impressionism tried to capture the impression or the momentary effect of a scene.

Expressionism: Expressionism presented the exaggerated and distorted emotions through art.

Key figures:

Impressionism: Alfred Sisley, Camille Pissaro, Mary Cassatt, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas and Pierre-Auguste Renoir are some key figures.

Expressionism: Vincent Van Gogh, James Ensor, Edvard Munch, Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall, Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Franz Marc and August Maske are some artists of the Expressionist movement.

Colors:

Impressionism: The paintings were full of vibrant colors.

Expressionism: Strong, intense colors were used for paintings.

Emotions:

Impressionism: Emotions were coupled with realities.

Expressionism: Emotions are heightened through art.

 

Image Courtesy:

1. Monet Water Lilies 1916 By Claude Monet – probably bildum.de, [Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons

2. The Scream By Edvard Munch – WebMuseum at ibiblioPage [Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons