Impressionism is a form of art where the nature of fugitive light, a form of paint that fades over time, is apparent on surfaces. Because of this form of paint used, impressionism is known to capture the "here and now" rather than the permanent or the forever. It captures daily life, be it from someone drifting down a river to a bustling shopping center. It embodies brighter colors and is faster paced and bright than other forms of painting. But the biggest characteristic of Impressionism is its modernity. Impressionists showed brush strokes deliberately and preferred have short very visible strokes- dots, commas, smears, and blobs. To more "serious" artists, Impressionism was seen as messy and unfinished.

In 1874, a group of artists called the Anonymous Society of Painters set up an exhibition in Paris that kick-started the Impressionist movement. Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and Camille Pissarro were the founders of the artist society. With Monet's piece, Impression, Sunrise, which was exhibited in 1874, the group got their name. An art critic, Louis Leroy, called the painting an impression, a sketch, thus coined the name "Impressionism." Examples of such paintings are featured on this page, to the left there is the painting "Garden at Giverny" painted by the one and only Claude Monet. To the right, there is "Sunrise" which was painted by again, Monet. Monet was and is known as the most famous impressionist artist because of not only his cooperation in starting the impressionist movement, but for also creating famous and very popular paintings.

After the siege of Paris in the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871) parts of the city had to be rebuilt. Impressionists including Pissarro and Gustave Caillebotte painted the renovated city with impressionist style. The Impressionists had a steady membership over the course of eight exhibitions between 1874 and 1886. With the last of the exhibitions in 1886, most of the original impressionists were creating individual avant-garde styles. Impressionism had many major consequences as its embracement of modernity made it a stepping stone towards later new art in Europe.