First Impressions

Our parents want the best for us. Sometimes, though, they can try to lead us away from our dreams, thinking that we’ll be better off in the end. It’s happened to many people not just now but in the past, and specifically to one infamous Claude Monet.

Monet’s father wanted him to be a grocer, not a painter. Imagine the father of Impressionism managing a grocery store for his whole life instead of painting. Regardless of how interesting those aisle displays most likely would’ve been, the world, and Monet, would’ve missed out on something huge.

By the time he was 16, Monet had attended a traditional kind of schooling and learned from other artists that served as mentors. Displeased with the way art was being taught, Monet befriended other like-minded artists when he moved to Paris and together they began a new style and era of painting.

Conversely to the more widely accepted style of painting, Monet and his friends painted in a way that depicted the visual “impression” of a scene, and not necessarily the specific structures and detail (below).

The painting featured above, Impression: Sunset, was partly the inspiration for the name Impressionism. An art critic repeated the term in a derogatory manner after seeing Monet’s exhibit, but the group of artists began using the name to refer to themselves from then onward.

The story is similar to the naming of the Purdue Boilermakers, a representation that originally began as a negative remark on the kind of utilitarian education that Purdue initially offered. The Boilermakers have paralleled the success of Impressionism by turning those terms into some of the widest known and influential in the world.


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