The Role of Camille Pissarro in the Impressionism Art Movement


The French Impressionist painter, Camille Pissarro, is famous for his visual contributions during the impressionists and post-impressionist times and has a special reputation for his patriarchal views that stood him out in contrast to his colleagues Gauguin and Paul Cezanne.

Being known as a critical figure in the Impressionist movement, Pissarro produced exquisite art in line with the impressionists who focused on high-key color, tone, and texture in the artwork. Like other impressionist artists, Pissarro focused on painting outdoors and aimed at incorporating it into his artwork.

In addition, like other impressionists, Pissarro used loose brush strokes in his paintings. However, in contrast, Pissarro’s art represented rural themes instead of modern life. Considering his excellence, Renoir considered Pissarro’s work revolutionary as he painted the common in a realistic, everyday natural setting.

Pissarro’s artistic journey

Pissarro was inspired by several artists but thought their style was too stifling. He initially created art in line with the traditional requirements of the Paris Salon, which was the only place to exhibit artwork to gain exposure. During the late 1850s, as his first painting was accepted at the Salon, Pissarro became acquainted with the style of Camille Corot, along with whom he painted outdoors.

Soon, he began admiring the beauty of the natural setting and started painting it. Eventually, Pissarro came across other artists like Claude Monnet, who was more into painting a realistic image style. His colleagues were all against the dictating rules of the Salon.

After the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war, Pissarro went to London, where he realized the essence of open-air painting and sought its link with the impact of light and atmosphere. Soon his artwork incorporated loose brushstrokes that created more depth in his artwork. For this reason, he is known to be among the pioneers of the Impressionist art style. Soon after returning to France, after finding that much of his artwork was destroyed, he established a group of 15 artists who found their place to exhibit their work. This marked the establishment of impressionist art on a greater platform, thereby creating room for opportunity for like-minded artists.

Consequently, the first Impressionist exhibition was held in 1874 that received great criticism. However, despite the artists’ comments and criticism, Pissarro continued as a revolutionary and adopted a more simplistic and natural style of displaying art. To know all about Painter Pissarro, here is a list of Camille Pissarro’s most famous paintings that showcase his style and efforts.

Jalais Hill, Pontoise (1867)

French Impressionist artist Pissarro painted a French pastoral landscape in 1876 that was exhibited at the Salon in 1868. This established Pissarro’s name as a rural landscape painter, where Pissarro landscape drawings were famous. The painting showcases the artist’s intermittent home in the background with a curved path in the front and two women in the foreground.

The critic and author, Emile Zola, praised this piece as an example of a modern landscape painting and appreciated how Pissarro authentically represented an image of the countryside. She also liked how the colors were used to speak volumes about the painter’s simplicity and forthrightness.

Pissarro was highly fascinated by the French countryside and would paint the outdoors. Unlike his mentor Corot who would go to the studio to finish/revise his artwork, Pissarro preferred staying outdoors to complete his work. He felt that an outdoor setting was important to grasp the first impression of his painting, and staying outdoors would add an element of naturalism and realism to his artwork.

Peasant Woman Carrying a Basket – Camille Pissarro

Two Young Peasant Women (1881-1882)

This painting represents an image of two peasant women taking a break in a field near Pissarro’s residence. France at this time was going through rapid industrialization that eventually threatened the values of the agrarian society that Pissarro aimed to preserve. And thus, this painting is an effort to preserve those values.

This is a famous impressionist painting concerning its position, dignity, size, and grace. This oil on canvas uses pastel colors, with certain areas showcasing the use of brighter colors. It shows two women, one crouched, looking tired, while the other leans forward, holding a farming tool. Behind these peasants, you see typical agricultural land, grassy pastures, and the dirt track where the women decide to rest. All in all, the soft hues convey a calming landscape image that was an area where Pissarro excelled.

Young Peasant at Her Toilette – Camille Pissarro

Young Peasant at Her Toilette (1888)

You will see a young woman standing in a bathroom in this painting which is busy washing her beautiful long hair. This painting incorporates pointillism and the Neo-impressionism style. The artist was rather intrigued by the pointillism technique because of its scientific association with art. This style incorporates putting pure color spots side by side to create light or shadow; when you look at the artwork, you automatically tend to mix the dots.

Since pointillism required advanced planning, Pissarro invested significant time in creating such images. His excellence with this technique is noticeable when you look closely at the detailed brushstrokes in various painting parts.

Pissarro, however, gradually got tired of pointillism and switched back to the initial spontaneous manner, though the elements of this technique continued to be a part of his artistic career.


The French Impressionist art style is unique, using unblended colors and visible brushstrokes and incorporating light’s transient effect. Pissarro is an excellent name in the history of art specific to the Impressionist movement, along with other like-minded colleagues who objected to the standard requirements of the Salon. Hence, they created their own space for exhibiting art that was created in an outdoor setting in its simplistic form. Pissarro is, thus, known for his revolutionary style of art that left a mark on the generations to come.


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