Impressionism – The Basic Idea

Impressionism was born in France between 1860 and 1870. Later, in the 90s of the 19th century, it spread to large parts of Europe. Impressionism experienced its heyday in the years 1863 – 1883. Years earlier it had already been influenced by the main representatives Claude Monet, Edouard Manet and Edgar Degas. Impressionism had a very strong influence on the art styles that followed it. Even during the Expressionist period, many artists remained faithful to Impressionism throughout their lives.

Contours are interpretations

The term impressionism comes from the French and means “impression”. The revolutionary thing about Impressionism is that artists began to observe their perception.

The first realization was that the contours of objects were “made” by consciousness. That the eye sees mainly colors and forms; strictly speaking, only colors. Contours are interpretations and the Impressionists wanted to return to “pure perception”.

The light and its effect had done it to the painters of Impressionism. With their new way of painting, consisting of dots and small strokes, they tried to reproduce the natural light in their paintings. The Impressionists mainly worked outdoors or in a studio with changing lighting. Some Impressionists painted the same motif at different times of the day or season to reflect the difference in changing lighting. To achieve this, the Impressionists developed new techniques for working with color. The colors became lighter and the artists began to mix the color directly on the canvas. This technique enabled them to achieve softer contours in their paintings.

They realized that perception changed rapidly from moment to moment and that it was impossible to capture the impression of a moment. This explains the fast painting style used to capture these impressions before the next impression follows. The impressions were about pure observation without interpretation or constructs.

Typical motifs of Impressionism were landscape scenes and boulevard scenes with elegantly dressed ladies, depictions of dancers and women at the toilet.


Futurism was born in Italy as an avant-garde art movement. It revolutionised the Italian art scene with literature, music, fine arts and architecture. The movement was founded by the writer Filippo Tommaso Marinetti (1876 – 1944) who dictated and published the first Futurist Manifesto in 1909. In the visual arts, many Italian painters followed this Marinetti Manifesto. Among them were Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carra, Gino Severini, Giacomo Balla, Aroldo Bonzagni and Luigio Russolo as famous painters, Antonio Sant´ Ella as architect and Francesco Balilla Pratella as musician of the Italian art scene.

Although Futurism triggered an important art revolution mainly in Italy, it also influenced the development of art in other European countries. In Russia, Futurism developed its own style and was particularly effective in the field of literature. In Germany, Futurism established itself especially in Berlin. The best-known German futurist was Alfred Döblin, who devoted himself mainly to montage techniques.

The Battle of the Futurists

The term futurism comes from the Italian word “futuro” (future), from Latin futurum (future). The Futurists break with everything they perceive as outdated and traditional. They tried to create a new “real” art, as they called it, that would meet the demands of modern mechanized life.

According to the Futurists, “art” should correspond to real life rather than reflect the past. Imitation of the past, whether as theme or motif, should be avoided as it does not adequately reflect one’s own originality and time.

Futurism rejects the old ideals of beauty and seeks “its” ideals of beauty in speed and dynamism. This reflects the technical development and the increasingly technical awareness of contemporary society, to which the new technical achievements correspond. In 1910, the painter Umberto Boccioni published his Manifesto of Futurist Painting, which he wrote together with several other artists. In it he called on other young artists to rebel against the historical ideals of art and to fight for new artistic ideals.

The Love of the Futurists

In the same year, 1910, after Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, the second manifesto of the visual arts was announced. In this more technical manifesto of futuristic painting, the technique of painting and the motif are described in more detail. The traditional motifs such as landscapes, historical representations and portraits are rejected and instead of these, light and movement are now at the centre. The speed of the big city, traffic, mass society and machines in many ways are now the theme. Cars, planes and trains are typical motifs of futurism.

For the Futurists, the experience of the artist and the portrayed are just as important as the image of the depicted situation. What distinguishes futuristic images from works of other art styles are pure representations of movementabl&¨ufen. Events are captured in the picture by depicting motion sequences. Forms and lines flow into each other and light is experimented with to represent continuity. For this, techniques from cubism and divisionism (a split of pointillism/early impressionism) are used.

Futuristic art is expressed in paintings, collages, posters, manifestos, poems and the still young medium of film.

Object art in fashion design

The depiction of everyday objects as works of art has a long tradition in the fine arts. Everyday objects are also extremely popular for fashion designs. As part of a project at the Weißensee Kunsthochschule Berlin, for example, fashion designs were created from window hangings such as pleated blinds and roller blinds.

Whether Andy Warhol’s tomato soup can picture series, Picasso’s bull’s skull or the fat corner exhibited by Joseph Beuys: object art that consciously stages found objects or everyday utensils has been an indispensable component of fine art for over 100 years. The original pioneer of this art form was Marcel Duchamp. As early as 1913, he introduced the concept of “ready-mades” and presented, for example, the bicycle of a bicycle as an art object, which was also on view at the MoMa exhibition in Berlin in 2004.

The Everyday Object in the Fashion World

In art-related disciplines such as fashion design, everyday objects can also often be found today – for example, in a joint project between the Weißensee Kunsthochschule Berlin and the Livoneo company, in which fashion designs made of pleated blinds and roller blinds were presented, which are actually produced by the industry only for the furnishing of windows. The pleated blinds and roller blinds were combined with conventional clothing textiles such as bikini fabrics and jersey, as well as with other materials such as sofa upholstery fabrics or bookbinding gauze.

In contemporary fashion creations inspired by object art, not only classic fashion fabrics meet textiles from the home and handicraft industries. For a fashion show, old mobile phones, empty balloons or plastic cups were used to create costumes. In New York, on the other hand, a competition has been taking place for over ten years in which wedding dresses made of toilet paper are presented and awarded prizes.

Experiments with form and movement

Almost all fashion outfits from everyday objects are not suitable for wearing. However, they are not designed specifically for the consumer, but are aimed at the artistic-experimental handling of form, colour, surfaces and movement. And they are mostly produced for presentation purposes by art schools or international fashion houses, such as at a legendary fashion show in 2009 by the late fashion designer Alexander McQueen, who sent his models across the catwalk with headgear made of garbage bags.

Constructivism – The Basic Idea

The term constructivism is derived from the Latin “construere” – “build, erect, connect”. In modern art, constructivism refers to a form of artistic design that is composed of controlled elements and certain defined relationships. The artist constructs a picture or a sculpture, in which the units of measurement, i.e. the relations between the elements, are precisely defined. A constructed work was often preceded by weeks of planning and mathematical calculations.

Constructivism set itself the goal of creating an art that corresponds to the conditions of a scientific and technical age and conveys a corresponding aesthetic experience to the human being living in it. Constructivism in the 20th century has three tendencies:

The propagandistic Constructivism was primarily represented by Russian Constructivism. The impulses of analytical Constructivism came from Bauhaus, De Stijl and concrete painting. Practical experimental Constructivism still has an effect to this day and has influenced many contemporary artists. The last two stages are generally summarized as International Constructivism in order to distinguish themselves from politically-nationally motivated Russian Constructivism.

Russian Constructivism

(Russian) constructivism, which had prerequisites in cubism, futurism and cubofuturism, is divided into two main branches: the utilitarianism around Vladimir Yevgrafovich Tatlin (Russian painter, 1885 – 1953) with the intention to use art for architecture, design, typography, stage sets and fashion and to use it for the revolution of society and the suprematism around Kasimir Malevich, which withdrew the art of social functionalization in favour of pure geometric form determination. He reflected political concepts as an aesthetic-artistic element. The artists saw themselves as official representatives of the political functionaries. Their aim is to bring the communist ideas to the people with their art. The fact that art can serve as a carrier of information for people on a large scale is the great insight and achievement that we owe to the Russian constructivists. In the urge to create an absolutely new state, this kind of functionalism tends towards propaganda. Russian constructivism is trying to create a new vocabulary to distance itself from the past. “Constructivist artists call themselves “engineers,” and their architecture calls them the “front of art. Tatlin speaks of the “victory of machine art”.

The Russian counterpart to Cubism is based on the simple nature of folk art and the angular forms of Russian wooden dolls. This direction, known as neo-primitivism, is influenced by several factors: Henri Matisse, the fauvist, the “luboks” (satirical woodcuts), icons, and advertising painters. Mikhail Fyodorovich Larionov (Russian painter, 1881-1964) inserted the graffiti of his time – simple scribbling on the walls by uneducated soldiers – into his works of art. The impression created by the text fragments is similar to the way synthetic cubism uses word fragments.

International Constructivism

The focus of this new analytical – constructive phase is on spatial design and architecture. In addition, other artistic areas are also affected by this new type of formal and structured approach. Johannes Itten teaches his colour theory, adapted to constructivist needs. Lyonel Feininger and Josef Albers deal with strictly geometric surface relationships and colour gradations. Oskar Schlemmer develops a new aesthetic with his figural constructivism. Laszlo Moholy-Nagy is the leading artist who deals in depth with technoid designs and space-time relationships.

The centers of international art of the last decades can be found in Europe, America, and above all Latin America. The artists were concerned with various possibilities of using materials. In contrast to the Russian Constructivists, for whom imaginary and fantastic worlds still open up with their material research, the international Constructivists focus more on the material. Mobile mechanisms, audiovisual installations and spatial constructions dominate.

Hasegawa Tōhaku – Less is sometimes more

Asymmetry and minimalism have long been among the most common life-sytle mantras of the 21st century. They also somehow look pretty, these Japanese-style teacups – although grandma would probably turn around in her grave at the thought of having to exchange her Meissener porcelain for these unhangling vessels. But why the cozy “Many” is out and what the attraction of the “Half” and the “Little” is, one may not really be able to answer. And also I find myself with the umpteenth, annual outcry that I cannot free myself from the fashionable desire for “little”.

Hasegawa Tōhakus Kiefernwald (ca. 1590), one of my absolute favorite works of art, recently gave me the impulse to think about this strange aesthetic, which at the same time always seems somehow unfinished. On fine paper of more than 7 meters length Hasegawa painted with ink some pines apparently sinking into fog and otherwise – well – otherwise actually: “nothing”.

Even if this is supposedly only a design, probably for a wall or sliding door painting, the pine forest is one of Japan’s most important art treasures today. Because basically everything is there that makes a pine forest so special – and if one or the other is still missing something, there is enough room for imagination! The fact that the paper is hardly painted is neither coincidence nor artistic negligence. And on longer observation, it actually seems as if the pines were directing our gaze purposefully into the middle, as if they were telling us: “Look here, look into the void”.

Hasegawas pine forest is a Zen Buddhist picture

Zen is one of many forms of Buddhism which, unlike many other religions, has no fixed set of rules and does not refer to any particular scripture. Zen practitioners try to reach the state of “not” through long and conscious meditation. It is possible to run a little bit like with 360-degree glasses on cotton wool. In Zen Buddhism, emptiness has a deeper, religious meaning. This does not mean, however, that Zen paintings were worshipped as images of saints, but rather that they supported the viewer in the difficult meditative immersion.

It was the task of a Zen painter to cut off the superfluous in such a way that the motif still appears recognizable but strongly condensed, thus revealing its true form. A certain spiritual disposition might be helpful for this. However, the empty spaces undoubtedly bring dynamism into the picture – everything becomes and disappears with the viewer’s perception. The Zen painters got their motifs exclusively from nature – mountains, forests and rivers were particularly popular – because it was equated with the divine and the human inner life. In fact, for a long time the Japanese had no real word for “nature”, as they saw themselves as part of their environment and did not have to distinguish themselves from it by any terms.

A Zen picture is usually monochrome and made of ink. In the 14th century, Japanese Zen monks copied ink painting from the Chinese, who calligraphed with ink on silk or paper. Of course, only black ink is used for a Zen-Buddhist ink picture, as it looks particularly simple and simple. The essential characteristics of Zen painting also include asymmetry, simplicity, naturalness, self-evidence, detachment, silence and tranquillity.

Not so easy, then

In Europe, the preference for the “incomplete” did not develop until much later. Until the 19th century, the motto was “Completely or not at all”. For a long time, even sketches and drawings were not regarded as “art”, but exclusively as private aids. Zen artists like Hasegawa can therefore probably be described as the forefathers of today’s minimalist culture.

Hasegawa Tōhaku (1539-1610) worked mainly in Kyoto, then the imperial capital and cultural Mecca of Japan. Not an easy task for a 30-year-old migrant from the province: the famous Kano artists had built a true empire in the city, which they understandably did not like to dispute. So he first made it through with Buddhist pictures for monasteries and smaller part-time jobs as a dyer. Hagesawa did not join a larger school of painting, which was common at that time, especially as it made it much easier for him to enter the world of work. However, his artistic stubbornness soon paid off.

Still spots or already landscape?

Landscape painting follows strict formulas. At least it was in the 18th century when the hierarchy of genres drew clear boundaries, established rules and demanded a certain procedure. It should reflect the painter’s ability to deal with animate to inanimate nature. Landscape painting was based on history painting, portrait and genre painting and ended up on the penultimate square before still life painting. The aim was to paint after nature and to surpass it.

The natural was transformed into an idealized nature

Alexander Cozens, stubborn landscape painter and not entirely unprominent godchild of Peter the Great, went his own way in it. As an eccentric he tried to develop landscapes out of abstract forms instead of just through nature. Paint and paper played a central and active role in the design and development of a cloud or mountain formation. In the case of colour, he caused large splashes of colour to melt on damp paper. He crumpled the paper and then pulled it smooth again. The resulting fusions of spots of colour or crease lines in the paper produced their own patterns.

In the second step, he drew the shape of a landscape associatively by laying a transparent paper over the abstract formations and drawing it off. Cozens then created romantic fields, forests, huts and rivers out of spots of colour and folds. The result was the idea of a landscape, created from the interplay of his imagination and the material’s own activity. In 1788 he published his approach in his treatise “New Methods of Assisting in the Invention in Drawing Original Compositions of Landscape”.

This method makes it clear that Alexander Cozens saw himself differently from many contemporaries, not as the creator of things, but as an organ. A medium that must absorb and process the inspiration and energy of the material. Because the material has a life of its own. A thoroughly postmodern thought that can later be found in artists such as John Cage and Jackson Pollock.

Burnt Paintings are not always lost

Specialists of the Atelier Pracher (AKR Pracher) in Würzburg rescue works of art. The misfortune of a house or room fire represents a traumatic event for the owner. In addition to the great loss of furniture, floor coverings or wall decorations, it is particularly tragic when objects of ideal value, valuable collectors’ items and family heirlooms are damaged or even destroyed. Such works of art, whether paintings, framed family photos or documents have history and are often directly connected with personal memories of the owner. For example, it is particularly important to have these objects checked by a specialist firm for the possibility of recovery when taking stock of the claims settlement.

New Methods

The AteliePracher has developed methods in multiple conservation campaigns that often allow the restoration of objects believed to be lost.

Whether a work of art can be restored depends primarily on the degree to which the layer of paint burns. Once the charring process is largely complete, there is of course no way of achieving a meaningful visual value for the painting.

However, this was not the case in the majority of the works of art examined. For example, strongly oxidized layers of paint interspersed with fire bubbles can be preserved using thermoplastic processing techniques and, after the soot and dirt layers have been removed on all sides, they can be restored with, for example, compressor systems or decontamination envelopes and brought into a presentable condition.

Preliminary condition and final condition after restoration

In the case of framed and glazed furnishings, restoration of the decorative frame may be necessary if it has a subjective or historical value. After framing and cleaning, the back cardboard and passe-partout contaminated with soot particles should always be exchanged and replaced professionally with suitable and resistant cardboard (acid-free, alkaline buffered).

The team of restorers of the AKR Pracher in Würzburg under the direction of the Diplom – Restaurator Univ. Georg F. R. Pracher has specialised in the restoration of fire-damaged works of art and collection objects and is thus active for damage repairers, insurance companies and private clients throughout Europe. In cooperation with Kunsthandlung Wildmeister, which runs its framework workshop in the studio building, it is possible to carry out not only the restoration of paintings and sculptures, but also the conservation framing and repair of framed and glazed objects in a professional manner.

What type of camera?

If you attach importance to simple operation, automation and small size, then this speaks rather for the purchase of a compact camera. Although these are somewhat less flexible, as they usually only allow a few manual adjustments and only rarely the use of different lenses, they are also often very inexpensive. Useable models are already available from approx. 80 Euro.

Usually larger, heavier and on average significantly more expensive, are SLR cameras. This type of camera is more suitable for professional product photography and has some advantages over compact cameras in general. This includes, for example, that the settings can be changed extensively manually. In addition, there are usually a lot of accessories. And flash and lens can be exchanged. Among the SLR cameras, there are also models that release much faster and have comprehensive serial image functions. Put simply: you can do more with this type of camera than with compact cameras.

If you’d like to go even further into this subject, this article might be of interest to you: Amazon Guide SLR CamerasSmall square with arrow pointing up right. I take my own product photographs with a predecessor model of the Canon EOS 700D. Small square with arrow pointing up right. and can only recommend this model series. It is easy to use and takes accurate pictures. But SLR cameras also have their price, as I said. The five best-selling models with a lens on, for example, range in price from approx.

What resolution do I need for my product photography?

It’s really amazing how rapidly the number of possible megapixels from digital cameras has increased in recent years. But do you really need a camera with 24 or more megapixels to get even good product photography? In my opinion, not really. A camera with more megapixels doesn’t automatically take better photos. Technically, more megapixels have the advantage that you can print pictures in larger formats without any loss in quality.

The ever-increasing numbers on the packaging benefit product marketing in particular. Of course, everyone has to check for themselves what they need. But as a rough orientation: From approx. 5 megapixels you can print your pictures with very high quality in DIN A4 format. From approx. 5 to 12 megapixels, depending on the camera, it should be enough for good to very good printouts in A3 format. If this is enough for you, or if you only want to publish online anyway, you can hit a model within this range without any problems.

How To Make Great Pictures

Do I need image stabilizers?

Basically it is recommended to use a tripod for your work. You don’t even have to spend money for this. In the internet, there are numerous craft instructions for improvised solutions with household items. For example, I became creative myself and quickly converted my telescopic speaker stand into a camera tripod. Also possible. But if you find all this too complicated or unprofessional, I recommend a look at the numerous models on the market. could be a starting point for your research. If you are interested, you will find here a small square with an arrow pointing up on the right. a product overview, which I have limited to the models with the highest star ratings in the range from 10 to 100 Euros

Additionally there is the possibility to use image stabilizers. These are either present in the camera, which however usually does not function so well, since they “cheat” themselves over higher ISO values image stabilization at the expense of the quality. Or you can buy a lens with a built-in function for your SLR camera. This can have a very positive effect on the results of product photography, but at the same time it can unfortunately also have a very negative effect on your account balance. From my own experience I recommend to make a good tripod or to buy one. Also the tip: If your camera has a self-timer, use it. This also minimizes the risk of camera shake.

What role do macro functions play?

Macro and close-up shots play an extremely important role in product photography. The macro function of a camera can be used to highlight the qualities and details of objects. This is essential when selling on the Internet. Show your products from different directions and angles. Emphasize special features with close-up shots. This increases your sales opportunities considerably.

For example, I have highlighted some of the paper structure and color properties of the images in the shots for our shop – here is a concrete example: “Over the Ocean”. All cameras now have a macro mode. Special macro lenses are also available for SLR cameras.

Which zoom do I need?

Generally speaking, you should look for a camera with at least 3 to 5x optical zoom so that you can work flexibly with your product photography. Nowadays, almost all entry-level cameras do. However, the word optical is decisive here. Because with this variant you achieve significantly better results than with the digital zooms offered by many manufacturers. For example, it can sometimes be quite appropriate to increase the distance to the product in order to achieve various effects using optical zoom. This can make the results of your product more interesting.

Do I need a display?

The biggest advantage of a display is certainly that you can check images immediately at the point of capture. However, it should have a corresponding size and luminosity. So you can basically see everything well on it – especially in strong sunshine. When shooting in strong sunlight, a viewfinder on the camera can also help. If your model has both, display and viewfinder, this gives you more flexibility.

What ISO values must the camera have?

The ISO value tells you how sensitive the camera’s image sensor is to light. The higher the ISO value, the better you can work under poor lighting conditions. However, this should not be a decisive factor in product photography. In general, you should always illuminate your products very well for photography. This is also possible in the home studio without problems. More about this below. ISO values above 800 should therefore not be required.