Impressionism was a nineteenth century art movement that began as a loose association of Paris-based artists who started publicly exhibiting their art in the 1860s. Characteristics of Impressionist painting include visible brush strokes, light colors, open composition, emphasis on light in its changing qualities (often accentuating the effects of the passage of time), ordinary subject matter, and unusual visual angles. The name of the movement is derived from Claude Monet’s Impression, Sunrise (Impression, soleil levant). Critic Louis Leroy inadvertently coined the term in a satiric review published in Le Charivari.
Radicals in their time, early Impressionists broke the rules of academic painting. They began by giving colours, freely brushed, primacy over line, drawing inspiration from the work of painters such as Eugene Delacroix. They also took the act of painting out of the studio and into the world. Previously, not only still-lives and portraits, but also landscapes had been painted indoors, but the Impressionists found that they could capture the momentary and transient effects of sunlight by painting air (in plain air).