before-the-performance

Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas, Before the Performance, About 1896 - 1898. Oil on paper laid on canvas, 47.60 x 62.50 cm, National Galleries of Scotland. Presented by Sir Alexander Maitland in memory of his wife Rosalind, 1960, NG 2224. © National Galleries of Scotland. Photo: Antonia Reeve.

In April 1874 a group of young artists defied the official Paris Salon by setting up their own independent exhibition. Including works by Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissaro, Edgar Degas and Berthe Morisot, it became known as the first Impressionist exhibition, after the initial use of the term in an article critical of the works.

The Impressionists rejected the old-fashioned tenets of the French academy with its emphasis on draughtsmanship, ‘finish’ and historical subject matter. Instead, they aimed to capture the transience of nature, the fleeting moment. 

Embracing the ideas of Charles Baudelaire, the Impressionists were encouraged to leave their studios and paint their immediate environment. Working 'en plein air' was a fundamental principle of Impressionism along with a need to be in tune with the contemporary world and the fleeting experiences of urban life.  Working on small, portable canvases in the open air, they achieved sparkling effects, not by broken tones and contrasts, but by a division of colour, applying the paint in short, fragmented brushstrokes.

Despite the initial criticisms, Impressionism paved the way for modern movements, with its emphasis on technique over subject matter shaking the foundations of academic art.

Until Fri 28 Feb 2020

diego-martelli-1839-1896

Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas, Diego Martelli (1839 - 1896), 1879. Oil on canvas, 110.40 x 99.80 cm, National Galleries of Scotland. Purchased 1932, NG 1785. © National Galleries of Scotland. Photo: Antonia Reeve.

martinique-landscape

Paul Gauguin, Martinique Landscape, 1887. Oil on canvas, 117.00 x 89.80 cm, National Galleries of Scotland. Presented by Sir Alexander Maitland in memory of his wife Rosalind, 1960, NG 2224. © National Galleries of Scotland. Photo: Antonia Reeve.

vision-of-the-sermon-jacob-wrestling-with-the-ange

Paul Gauguin, Vision of the Sermon (Jacob Wrestling with the Angel)1888Oil on canvas, 72.20 x 91.00 cm, National Galleries of Scotland. Purchased 1925, NG 1643© National Galleries of Scotland. Photo: Antonia Reeve.

orchard-in-blossom-plum-trees

Vincent van Gogh, Orchard in Blossom (Plum Trees)1888. Oil on canvas, 54.00 x 65.20 cm, National Galleries of Scotland. Presented by Sir Alexander Maitland in memory of his wife Rosalind 1960, NG 2217© National Galleries of Scotland. Photo: Antonia Reeve.

haystacks-snow-effect

Claude Monet, Haystacks: Snow Effect, 1891. Oil on canvas, 65.00 x 92.00 cm, National Galleries of Scotland. Bequest of Sir Alexander Maitland 1965, NG 2283. © National Galleries of Scotland. Photo: Antonia Reeve.

poplars-on-the-epte

Claude Monet, Poplars on the Epte, 1891. Oil on canvas, 81.80 x 81.30 cm, National Galleries of Scotland. Purchased 1925, NG 1651© National Galleries of Scotland. Photo: Antonia Reeve.

montagne-sainte-victoire

Paul Cézanne, Montagne Sainte-Victoire1890 - 1895. Oil on canvas, 55.00 x 65.40 cm, National Galleries of Scotland. Presented by Sir Alexander Maitland in memory of his wife Rosalind 1960, NG 2236© National Galleries of Scotland. Photo: Antonia Reeve.

three-tahitians

Paul Gauguin, Three Tahitians1899Oil on canvas, 73.00 x 94.00 cm, National Galleries of Scotland. Presented by Sir Alexander Maitland in memory of his wife Rosalind 1960, NG 2221© National Galleries of Scotland. Photo: Antonia Reeve.

the-big-trees

Paul Cézanne, The Big TreesAbout 1902 - 1904. Oil on canvas, 81.00 x 65.00 cm, National Galleries of Scotland. Presented by Mrs Anne F Kessler 1958; received after her death 1983, NG 2206© National Galleries of Scotland. Photo: Antonia Reeve.

lucie-cousturier-1876-1925-in-her-garden

Maximilien Luce, Lucie Cousturier (1876 - 1925) in her Garden1890 - 1905. Oil on panel, 32.40 x 23.60 cm, National Galleries of Scotland. Bequest of Mrs Isabel M Traill 1986, NG 2444© National Galleries of Scotland. Photo: Antonia Reeve.

la-chambre-rose-the-pink-bedroom

Edouard Vuillard, La Chambre rose [The Pink Bedroom], About 1910 - 1911. Oil on canvas, 64.00 x 53.00 cm, National Galleries of Scotland. Presented by Mrs Isabel M. Traill 1979, GMA 2936© National Galleries of Scotland. Photo: Antonia Reeve.