Impressionism. An art movement and style of painting that started in France around 1870 which attempted to capture fleeting impressions, particularly the changing light on a surface at different times of day. The impressionist style of painting is characterized by the use of unmixed primary colors and small strokes.
The principal Impressionist painters were Claude Monet, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley, Berthe Morisot, Armand Guillaumin, and Frédéric Bazille, who worked together, influenced each other, and exhibited together independently. Edgar Degas and Paul Cézanne also painted in an Impressionist style for a time in the early 1870s. The established painter Édouard Manet, whose work in the 1860s greatly influenced Monet and others of the group, himself adopted the Impressionist approach about 1873.