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161 artworks, 7 artists
Luminism (from Dutch “Luminisme”) is the artistic direction in art, which focuses the viewer’s attention on lighting effects. The representatives of classicism and realism sought to convey the lightness and transparency of the air, the glare and contrasts of natural light, the optical effects of water reflection. The result of their painting experiments was the solar landscape painting. The movement developed simultaneously in European countries and the USA. Luminist pictures convey the atmosphere, the mood of the artist, the pleasure of being close to nature. The painter, noticing the morning haze and reflection of the sun’s beam, transfers these effects to the canvas.
The advent of photography technique in the 19th century stimulated the birth of experimental painting. The founder of luminism in Europe was the Belgian impressionist painter Emil Klaus, in America; it was Thomas Cole who founded the Hudson River school of landscape painters. The creativity of both artists implies love for nature, an initially realistic painting style and the search for new forms of expression. The luminist artists shifted the subject of an artwork to the background; they abandoned the cold and contrasting shades, and enhanced the detail of an image. Landscapes and genre scenes resembled the Baroque paintings, as if lit by the warm Mediterranean sun. Luminism was the forerunner of impressionism: at the end of the 19th century, artists reduced their attention to detail, palette, lighting effects and preferred large pronounced strokes.
Luminist painting contains the elements of landscape and genre scenes, it focuses on the time of day, weather conditions, and the relief peculiarities. Such paintings cannot do without the image of water and light sources: sea and river landscapes, sunrises and sunsets, thunder lightnings and glimmers of light in the fog. Artists perfected the process of creating a study, as they sought to capture the short-term state of nature. The palette was dominated by warm shades, bright silver tones, the composition became complex and unpredictable, and the art of mixing colors and shades required not talent, but genius of an artist. They called luminism not an improvement in painting, but “a unique leap forward”.