In some ways, we are artists and our homes are our canvas. Our design sensibilities are influenced by our lifestyle, our loves, our experiences. The selections we make in terms of color, line, and light come together to create a home unique to the homeowner, beautiful in its own right – a living masterpiece.
With a passion for beautiful things, it is no wonder that we are often drawn to the art of the past, and are indeed inspired by it. Different eras in art history have decidedly different styles and feelings, and can generate distinctively unique home designs.
The impressionist movement in the middle of the nineteenth century impacted art history in significant ways. The focus became more about capturing a feeling or an experience rather than a true and realistic depiction of the subject, with many artists playing with how to represent shifting light and color in their work.
The artists of the period were often called upon to define or articulate their work. Their words provide guidance for us as we strive to capture the essence of impressionism in our environments:
Light in nature creates the movement of colors. – Robert Delaunay
The same location, at different points of the day, can look markedly different as the light shifts from early morning dawn through the bright light of midday into the twilight hours and finally to night. Often, designers work against this shift, adding artificial lighting, adjusting the colors – but Delaunay would likely have argued that the shift in color is indeed the point…the goal… and should be celebrated!
Color, which, like music, is a matter of vibrations, reaches what is most general and therefore most indefinable in nature: its inner power – Paul Gauguin
We know the power of color. The right shade simply sings to our souls. Gauguin knew this and worked to portray the vibrations of the color, the depth, the saturation of an intense shade or the softness of a pastel. Each hue presents a different sensation, and capturing that feeling in our homes solidifies the overall feeling tone of the space.
Painting from nature is not copying the object; it is realizing one’s sensations. Paul Cezanne
Impressionism is about capturing the moment, the essence, the feelings, the light and the color. As we design our spaces, keeping this philosophy in mind keeps the focus where it should be in order for our spaces to feel the way we want them to feel.
Sources: GauguinGallery.com, PaulCezanne.org, theartstory.org