Impressionism was influenced by the desire of artists to capture the momentary and sensory effects of a scene. Impressionist artists turned away from the strict academic art institutions and branched out of the studio, turning instead to the streets and the natural countryside.
Impressionism developed in Paris in the 1860s. Its forerunners were the artists who were rejected and shunned by government-sanctioned art exhibitions. These artists turned away from the fine detail that the majority of other artists aspired toward. They were more concerned with depicting the impression objects made on the eye in an ephemeral moment instead of depicting the objects with precise detail.
During the 1800s, Paris underwent a massive, mid-century renovation headed by civic planner, Georges-Eugène Haussmann. This renovation included the city's new railway stations, wide boulevards and large luxury apartment buildings. The impressionists attempted to translate the sense of alienation experienced by the populace of the first modern metropolis.
Impressionism is a style of art that doesn't rely on realistic imagery. The impressionist artists included pure, intense colors in their palettes, abandoned linear perspective and avoided clarifying the detail of specific forms. Their goal was to capture the effects of light, passing of time, weather changes and other atmospheric movement.