A French 19th century art movement which marked a momentous break from tradition in European painting. The Impressionists incorporated new scientific research into the physics of colour to achieve a more exact representation of colour and tone.
The sudden change in the look of these paintings was brought about by a change in methodology: applying paint in small touches of pure colour rather than broader strokes, and painting out of doors to catch a particular fleeting impression of colour and light. The result was to emphasise the artist's perception of the subject matter as much as the subject itself.
While the term Impressionist covers much of the art of this time, there were smaller movements within it, such as Pointillism, Art Nouveau and Fauvism.