Impressionism and Fashion


Edouard Manet (1832-1883) Young lady 1866

Musée d'Orsay Paris, France
Anxious to account for contemporary life, Impressionism favoured the representation of human figures in their daily surroundings, both urban and rural. Although they did not strive to render scrupulously the physiognomy, costume or habit, the Impressionists nevertheless accounted for the fashions and attitudes of their times. They achieved this through their keenness to consider the portrait as a snapshot of persons in their familiar settings, renewing the genre works from the double point of view of typology and topography and, above all, through their attention to the "daily metamorphosis of exterior things", as Baudelaire put it.