There are two words that appear in art literature: Influence and Inspire. I have often wondered whether these words were interchangeable. Or was there a subtle difference? This question came to mind when I stepped into the National Galleries Scotland exhibition: Inspiring Impressionism: Daubigny, Monet, Van Gogh.
The definition of “influence”, according to Dictionary.com is “the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others. The same dictionary defines “inspire” as “to fill with an animating, quickening, or exalting influence.” Notice the inclusion of “influence” in this last description.
Inspiration uses emotional appeal to open avenues of exploration and creativity. Having been influenced and inspired over the years, I have felt the delicate difference between the two, especially in the flow of artistic endeavour.
The title, Inspiring Impressionism captured the essence of the exhibition. Who inspired Monet? Van Gogh?
The answer: Charles François Daubigny (1817-78), one of the most important French landscape painters of the nineteenth century. (I confess I had never heard the name before, much to my chagrin.) Daubigny is considered, by some, to be the “father of Impressionism.” He painted, using a brighter pallet, preferring to remain outdoors. He travelled the Seine and Oise, positioned on his famous boat (Botin) which he turned into his art studio. I’m certain that was a novelty for that time.
“It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.”
Vincent Van Gogh
Inspiration brings courage, joy, hope, and yes, love, together to generate extraordinary outcomes. Daubigny inspired the young Impressionists, but he also had those who inspired him: Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, a French landscape and portrait painter and Jean Désiré Gustave Courbet, a French painter who led the Realist movement.
We all need inspiration.
A special thanks to my friend, Liz at Leaping Life for inspiring me to attend Inspiring Impressionism.