Be an Impressionist

Contributor: Lisa Reissig. Lesson ID: 13048

Do you enjoy history? Is it fascinating? What about art history? Yes, art! Come explore a famous group of nineteenth-century artists called the Impressionists, and try your hand at Impressionist art!


Visual Arts, World

Fine Arts
learning style
Kinesthetic, Visual
personality style
Beaver, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Rebels! Rule-breakers! Revolutionaries!

  • Who could possibly be described by those words?
  • Would you believe a group of nineteenth-century artists?

Yes, that's right — artists, also known as Impressionists. Read on to understand why they were called those rough names.

Throughout history, art has been very important.

Just as there are periods of history like the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, there are periods of art. Each period has its own characteristics.

  • Who were the subjects that were painted?
  • How was light used?
  • What was the level of detail?

During the Renaissance (1400–1600), the well-known artists, Michelangelo and Raphael, painted many great works of art. Renaissance artists had some things in common. Renaissance artists mostly painted religious subjects, and often depicted people with symbolic hand gestures, long-flowing robes, and lots of details.

From 1804–1870, a group of artists was known as Realist painters, including Millet and Courbet. This group painted the everyday reality of ordinary people (like us, not kings or queens). The paintings were often dark, and people were rarely smiling.

  • So, what made Impressionists so different?
  • What characterized their work?

As you read about Impressionism, write down the answers to the following questions.

  • What did the Impressionists like to paint?
  • Why were they called "Impressionists"?
  • What were the names of some famous Impressionist painters?
  • What did people think about their work?

Reflect in your journal on what you have learned so far. Think about the following:

  • Were rebel and rule-breaker good names for the Impressionists? Give reasons why or why not.
  • What is your opinion of Impressionism? Give reasons for your opinion.

Being able to examine art helps you focus on details.

In the Got it? section, you will examine different pieces of art and decide if an Impressionist painted them.

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