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French Course with Mathilde, lesson 8a – Culture, Impressionism (English version)

French culture lesson about a particular movement of French painting: l'Impressionisme(Impressionism). You will listen to this lesson twice: the first one will be in English while the second will be in Frence - let’s start!

As all of you certainly know, Impressionism rises in France in the 19th century,.The movement’s name originates from the title of a Claude Monet work, Impression, Soleil Levant (Impression, Sunrise).

Indeed, les peintres impressionistes (the Impressionist painters) Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Morisot, etc. use their human perceptions and experiences to express the transient impressions that light and objects generate and that change, according to place, time and seasons. That’s why they love la peinture en plein air (painting in the open air, outdoors), landscapes, simple daily subjects; they also privilege light, water and colour vibrations to the detriment of details. In order to obtain these visual effects, they use short “broken” brush strokes of mixed and pure unmixed colour. Today you can admire most of wonderful Impressionist paintings at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, which was originally a railway station and which was then turned into a museum by the Italian architect Gae Aulenti in 1986.

Some  famous Impressionist paintings are: Pierre-Auguste Renoir Bal au Moulin de la Galette 1876,  Edouard Manet Déjeuner sur l’herbe 1862-3,  Edgar Degas La classe de danse 1873-6.

Sum up of the new French words we have just learnt:

  • l’Impressionisme Impressionism
  • la peinture painting
  • un peintre painter
  • une œuvre work
  • un musée museum
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