In later 19th-century Europe, many artists reacted to rapid technological and societal change with a renewed interest in the natural world.
Artists such as John Brett (1831–1902) captured the effects and emotive qualities of light. His meticulous depiction of sunlight on the sea built on ideas promoted by the Pre-Raphaelites earlier in the century.
With the group of French artists known as Impressionists, light became a subject in itself. Claude Monet (1840–1926), Camille Pissarro (1830–1930), Alfred Sisley (1839–1899) and others ventured into the countryside to paint outdoors. These artists worked in nature to record the fleeting effects of light, atmosphere and movement, finishing their works outside. This was very unusual at a time when most landscape artists just made sketches and returned to their studios to develop them into carefully finished works. The Impressionists broke from illusionistic traditions, emphasising the paint on the surface of the canvas, flattening perspective and cropping their compositions in striking ways.
Works in this group
A curator's guide to Light: Works from Tate's Collection at ACMI | Matthew Watts & Laura Castagnini
Our collection comprises over 40,000 moving image works, acquired and catalogued between the 1940s and early 2000s. As a result, some items may reflect outdated, offensive and possibly harmful views and opinions. ACMI is working to identify and redress such usages.
Not in ACMI's collection
Previously on display
13 November 2022
ACMI: Gallery 4
Light → Light Impressions