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Outdoor painting or plein air painting (French: en plein air: in the open air) refers to painting in which the artist depicts the object to be depicted directly, in natural light and natural surroundings. This form of painting is thus in contrast to studio painting.
As early as the Renaissance, artists were concerned with natural light. Leonardo da Vinci dealt with the subject in his "Treatise on Natural Painting". The Dutch painters of the 16th and 17th centuries worked outdoors after studies, but carried out further work on the painting in the studio. The representation of the landscape was largely built up independently of the model of nature according to rules of composition.
Open-air painting was founded in England at the beginning of the 19th century by John Constable and Richard Parkes Bonington. The exhibition of Constable's work in Paris in 1824 prompted many French painters to work in the landscape and inspired the French Impressionists in particular. Artists such as Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, Jean-François Millet, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Giovanni Segantini and, last but not least, Claude Monet contributed with their works to the establishment of plein air painting.


Open-Air Painting

Under the artists of the Barbizon School and Impressionism, this style of painting took on a new, great significance. Not entirely unimportant for painting en plein air was the development of artists' paints in tubes. Up to this point, every artist had to mix his own paints at great expense, but now the paints were produced "ready to paint" in resealable, transportable tubes.
Skagen painters was the name given to a group of Danish artists in the fishing village of Skagen - such as Peder Severin Krøyer and Anna Ancher, for example - who achieved national importance at the end of the 19th century and devoted themselves above all to open-air painting modelled on the Barbizon School. Other examples of open-air painting during this period can be found, for example, among the artists of the Newlyn School, the artists' colonies of Dachau and Worpswede, and the Hamburg Artists' Club.




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