A French expression meaning ‘in the open air’. It refers to the practice of painting a complete picture outside as apposed to a creating a preparatory sketch or study. The technique was developed during the mid 1800’s by Constable in Britain, in France by the Barbizon School painters such as Courbet and Corot and later by the Impressionist painters including Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Artists using the technique sought to capture the essence of natural light. In the second half of the nineteenth century the technique spread throughout much of Europe and into America.

Berthe Morisot A Woman and Child in a Garden About 1883 - 1884


Claude Monet
1840 - 1926
Berthe Morisot
1841 - 1895
John Constable
1776 - 1837
Pierre-Auguste Renoir
1841 - 1919
Vincent van Gogh
1853 - 1890
Camille Pissarro
1830 - 1903

Glossary terms

  • An influential style of painting that originated in France in the 1870s with artists such as Claude Monet, Pierre-August Renoir and Alfred Sisley. They were interested in capturing the changing effects of light, frequently exploring this through landscape scenes painted in the open air.


Inspiring Impressionism | Daubigny | Monet | Van Gogh
  • Ended Sun 2 Oct 2016
Impressionism and Post-Impressionism
  • Ended Tue 11 Aug 2020
Impressionist Gardens
  • Ended Sun 17 Oct 2010