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MFA for Educators

Engage your students with the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to illustrate themes and concepts in any discipline.


This online gallery is organized chronologically around the lives of seven painters who created French Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. All were either French by birth or worked in France. Their history, therefore, parallels French history and prompts us to look more closely at the intersection of time, place, and people in the emergence of this new—revolutionary—approach to making art.

Learning Goals:

Teachers will:
• Feel comfortable using Museum objects as teaching tools
• Explore the relationship between art objects and the culture that produced them

Students will:
• Understand how the Impressionists used formal aspects of painting in new ways (NVAS 2)
• Appreciate the reaction of the critics of the time toward paintings of this new, "modern" style
• Understand the social, technological, and political context for the new techniques and attitudes associated with the Impressionists (NVAS 4)
• See how art reflects the larger culture that produced it (NVAS 4) (NSHT 2G)

Using this Resource

•Social Studies teachers will be interested in the social, political, and economic context of mid- to late nineteenth century France which these Impressionist paintings animate and make real the cultural shifts and collective concerns of the masses occurring in France at the time.

•Art teachers will be interested in the launch of a new movement in artistic style that broke away from traditional standards of beauty and art-making and its repercussions on the generations of artists that followed.

•English teachers will be able to provide the social and cultural contexts for the literature and poetry being produced in France at the time the Impressionists were flourishing.

The objects in this tour are just a beginning. We encourage you to explore the Museum's online collection through this web resource—or even better, to visit the Museum and walk through the physical galleries—to look for other objects that will provide a deeper look into the artists and works of Impressionism.

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