Impressionism is an artistic movement that began in 19th century France. Impressionist artists are more concerned with capturing what someone or something looked like to them than making their pictures look lifelike. They usually painted outdoors, and worked quickly to preserve the effect of light on the picture.
Famous impressionist artists include Claude Monet, Camille Pissaro, Edgar Degas, Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt.
Teach your children about impressionism using our handy topic guide!
- Try this interesting idea for creating an image in the style of Monet using sandpaper, wax crayons and an iron!
- Use pastels rather than paints to create impressionist images; the children can smudge them, giving a similar effect.
- Create a presentation about impressionism. This page from Tate Kids has plenty of information to get started.
- Take photographs of the same outdoor scene at different times during the day. Compare the photographs; what effect does the changing light have on the image?
- Choose two (or more) impressionist paintings and compare them. What are the similarities and differences?
- Younger children will enjoy this simple art idea using masking tape to mask off the shape of Monet’s garden bridge, and fingerprinting to create the garden.
- The Impressionist movement began in France in the 1860s.
- The term “Impressionists” came from critics who said that their paintings gave an “impression” of reality.
- A painting by Claude Monet, named Impression, Sunrise (Impression, Soleil Levant in the original French) is considered to be the first-ever impressionist painting.
- When they were first painted, impressionist paintings were not very popular. Today, they are some of the most expensive artworks ever! In 2019, Meules by Claude Monet fetched $110 at an auction in New York.
- Impressionists often painted the same view many times, trying to capture the differences in light and colour.
What is Impressionism? | Tate Kids
This short video gives a good overview of impressionism.
Running time: 2:18
Art with Mati and Dada – Berthe Moriso
Artist Berthe Morisot explains impressionism to Mati and Dada.
Running time: 7:52
Are you teaching your children about other topics? Explore our full collection of guides!