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Impressionist painters were a group of mostly French artists who strove to emulate the action of light in nature. They wanted to capture light in motion as it bounced off their subjects. No subject was too difficult for their experiments. Seascapes, landscapes, portraits and still life paintings were equally challenging and equally sought after as subjects. In 1874 these artists held their first combined exhibition in France. All the works were made according to the same style, which came to be called "impressionism" after a critic referred to it in this way. Impressionist art did not catch on at first but is now recognized as one of the iconic movements in the art world.
Leonardo da Vinci was a creative man who mastered numerous aspects of art including painting, sculpting and architecture. Leonardo was born in 1452 in a small town in Tuscany. His artistic genius was apparent early on and by age 15, Leonardo was apprenticing with famed Florentine painter and sculptor Andrea del Verrocchio. Leonardo died in 1519 at the age of 67.
Born in 1869, Henri Matisse painted in a range of styles both traditional and revolutionary. His use of bold color and sculptural shapes helped define the plastic arts movement, which was a term used in the early 20th century to encapsulate the way art gives shape to objects. Later in life, he became known as a preserver of classical French painting. His works changed drastically through the years, and he is known for his dramatic use of color and for his ability to depict real life imagery through art. He continued working as an artist until his death in 1954.