June 21, 2009

cezanne_chocquetThe word "Impressionism" makes most people think of beautiful, sunlit paintings of the French countryside, glorious gardens and lily ponds, and fashionable Parisians enjoining life in charming cafes.

But in 1874, when the men and women who came to be known as the Impressionists first exhibited their work, it was considered shocking and outrageous by all but the most to forward-thinking viewers. Why did these young artists cause such an uproar?


The exhibition and its accompanying classroom educational guide show how their radical ideas, techniques, and subjects broke time-honored rules and traditions of art in late 19th-century France.


This exhibitions features twelve large-scale photo reproductions of works from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts collection. Paintings by Eugene Boudin, Paul Cezanne, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Berthe Morisot, Pieree August Renoir, Alfred Sisley, and Vincent van Gogh are contrasted with an earlier, more traditional style example by Nicholas Poussin.


The classroom educational guide, Outside and Out of the Box: A Guide to Impressionism, accompanies the exhibition and provides educators with lesson plans, additional background information, and six posters to use in the classroom. While this exhibition is SOL-based and perfect for K-12 students, anyone interested in the art of the Impressionists will enjoy the selection of works.


This exhibition is organized through the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.