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Plein Air painting style


Renoir🎨 - Monet🎨 painting in his garden at Argenteuil, 1873

En Plein Air painting, in its strictest sense, the practice of painting landscape pictures out-of-doors; more loosely, the achievement of an intense impression of the open air (French: plein air) in a landscape painting.
Until the time of the painters of the Barbizon school in mid-19th-century France, it was normal practice to execute rough sketches of landscape subjects in the open air and produce finished paintings in the studio. Part of this was a matter of convenience.
Before the invention of the collapsible tin paint tube, widely marketed by the colour merchants Winsor Newton in 1841, painters purchased their colours in the form of ground pigment and mixed them fresh with an appropriate medium such as oil.

Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes (1750-1819)

The new tubes filled with prepared colours, as well as the invention of a lightweight, portable easel a decade later, made it much easier to paint out-of-doors.
Despite these advances, many of the Barbizon painters continued to create most of their work in the studio; not until the late 1860s, with the work of Claude Monet🎨, Pierre-Auguste Renoir🎨 and Camille Pissarro🎨, the leaders of Impressionism, did painting en plein air become more popular.

Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes (1750-1819)

Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes (1750-1819)

Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes (1750-1819)

This change came about from 1881, when Monet🎨, in his efforts to capture the true effects of light on the colour of landscape at any given moment, began to carry several canvases at once into the out-of-doors.
On each he began a painting of the same subject at a different time of day; on subsequent days, he continued to work on each canvas in succession as the appropriate light appeared. | Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Claude Monet - A street at Argenteuil, Snow Effect, 1875, Musée d'Art et d'Historie, Genève

The Newlyn School in England is considered another major proponent of the technique in the latter 19th century.
It was during this period that the "Box Easel", typically known as the French Box Easel or field easel, was invented.
It is uncertain who developed it first, but these highly portable easels, with telescopic legs and built-in paint box and palette, made treks into the forest and up the hillsides less onerous. Still made today, they remain a popular choice even for home use since they fold up to the size of a brief case and thus are easy to store.
French🎨 Impressionist painters such as Claude Monet🎨, Camille Pissarro🎨 and Pierre-Auguste Renoir🎨 advocated En Plein Air painting, and much of their work was done outdoors, in the diffuse light provided by a large white umbrella.
In the second half of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth century in Russia, painters such as Vasily Polenov, Isaac Levitan🎨, Valentin Serov, Konstantin Korovin and I. E. Grabar were known for painting En Plein Air.
American Impressionists🎨, too, such as those of the Old Lyme school, were avid painters En Plein Air. American🎨 Impressionist painters noted for this style during this era included, Guy Rose🎨, Robert William Wood, Mary Denil Morgan, John Gamble and Arthur Hill Gilbert.

Winslow Homer (1836-1910)🎨 - Artists Sketching in the White Mountains

The Canadian painter Group of Seven and Tom Thomson are examples of En Plein Air advocates. The popularity of outdoor painting has endured throughout the 20th century and into the 21st century.

John Singer Sargent🎨 - Artist in the Simplon

Claude Monet - An Orchard in Spring, 1886

Claude Monet - Argenteuil Seen from the Small Arm of the Seine, 1872

Claude Monet - Au Cap d'Antibes par vent de mistral

Claude Monet - Autumn in Argenteuil, 1874

Claude Monet - Beach in Juan-les-Pins, 1888

Claude Monet - Blanche Monet Painting with her Sister Suzanne by the River

Claude Monet - Borgo Marina at Bordighera, 1884

Claude Monet - Church at Varengeville, Morning, 1882

Claude Monet - Cliff at Dieppe

Claude Monet - Corner of the Garden at Montgeron, 1876

Claude Monet - Flood at Giverny, 1886

Claude Monet - In the Field, Summer, Argenteuil, 1874

Claude Monet - Jardin à Sainte-Adresse

Claude Monet - La cabane du douanier

Claude Monet - Le Parc Monceau

Claude Monet - Le Tournant de la Seine à Lavacourt, l'hiver

Claude Monet - Marée montante à Pourville

Claude Monet - Prairie à Bezons

Claude Monet - Printemps à l'île de la Grande Jatte

Claude Monet - Sail Boat at Le Petit-Gennevilliers, 1874

Claude Monet - Springtime, 1886

Claude Monet - The Museum at Le Havre, 1873

Claude Monet - The Red Kerchief, Portrait of Mrs Monet, 1873, Cleveland Museum of Art

Claude Monet - The Seine at Bougival, 1869

Claude Monet - The Sheltered Path, 1873

Claude Monet - The Willows

Claude Monet - The windmill on the Onbekende Gracht

John Singer Sargent - The Fountain, Villa Torlonia, Frascati, Italy, 1907

En Plein Air (letteralmente all'aria aperta) è un termine in lingua francese che indica un metodo pittorico consistente nel dipingere all'aperto per cogliere le sottili sfumature che la luce genera su ogni particolare.
Altro obbiettivo di questa tecnica è quello di cogliere la vera essenza delle cose.
In voga soprattutto nell'Ottocento europeo, la pittura En Plein Air fu grandemente utilizzata dalla corrente pittorica degli Impressionisti.
La tecnica ebbe quali anticipatori Leonardo da Vinci che sosteneva "Io dipingo solo ciò che vedo" e, secoli più tardi, i paesaggisti Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes e Thomas Jones, che abbozzavano, con la tecnica ad olio su piccoli fogli di carta, gli effetti di luce che poi venivano riproposti sulle loro tele.

Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes (1750-1819)

Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes (1750-1819)

Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes (1750-1819)

Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes - A Landscape of Ancient Greece, 1786

I primi ad applicare questa tecnica furono i pittori romantici inglesi, mentre, In Italia, furono invece i cosiddetti Macchiaioli🎨.

Gaetano Previati 1852-1920

Gaetano Previati 1852-1920

Gaetano Previati 1852-1920


Venne perfezionata dagli Impressionisti, anche se la vera paternità è da attribuirsi secondo vari studiosi alla scuola di Barbizon ed a Gustave Courbet🎨, che per primo ne delineò i principi.
Questa tecnica sarà poi rigettata nel decadentismo quando lo stimolo dell'artista non sarà più la natura ma l'interiorità più profonda, il mistero.
Fra i più celebri pittori di dipinti realizzati "all'aperto" vi sono Manet🎨, Monet🎨, Cézanne🎨, Renoir🎨, Pissarro🎨, Van Gogh, Camille Corot🎨, Thèodore Rousseau, Constant Troyon, Charles-François Daubigny, Berthe Morisot🎨, William Turner🎨 e William Holman Hunt.

John Singer Sargent🎨 - Claude Monet painting at the Edge of a Wood, 1887 - Tate Gallery, London


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