Impressionism and Fashion

Impressionism originated in France during the second half of the 19th century, at a time of industrial development. First heavily criticized, this form of painting was first dubbed as unconventional and unfinished, before becoming extremely popular as it represented the evolution of society for the first time.
The impressionists made a point of reflecting the ordinary life of people. They painted scenes from cities and the countryside with subjects going about their daily routine. At the time, fashion was not the main source of concern for these people but more than a century later, these paintings, masterpieces for most of them, are actually an interesting testimony of the period’s fashion and habits in terms of clothing. It clearly shows the differences in the way people dressed in their workplace or when they were having fun.

The Orsay Museum has gathered more than 75 paintings from the 1860-1880 period and has decided to dedicate a whole exhibition on this topic. On display are paintings by Edgar Degas, Paul Cezanne, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and many more masters. All of them show the evolution of fashion and the influence of society on costumes and accessories at a time when Paris was emerging as the capital of fashion with the advent of department stores, the ready-to-wear industry and the first fashion magazines.

The show continues through January 20.


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