The Impressionists, whose loose brushstrokes, bright colours and light effects brought about a revolution in painting around 1870, were also extremely innovative draughtsmen.
The medium lent itself to fleeting impressions of the landscape and urban life far better than paint – chalk and watercolours are quicker to use than oils. This summer Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen presents a magnificent selection of Impressionist drawings from its own collection.
The Impressionists usually used soft drawing materials to create a painterly result. Degas, Pissarro and Renoir often worked with chalk and pastel, Seurat had a distinct preference for conté chalk and Cézanne was an outstanding watercolourist. The Impressionists were not so fond of pen or hard pencil, which in their view defined shapes too sharply. The granular texture of chalk leaves the paper partially exposed, so that light is captured in the drawing. The use of loose and multiple outlines suggests movement in time.