French art movement of the late 19th century that, inspired by scientific knowledges about the physical compositions of colours, tried to render them in an exact as possible way. To this purpose the impressionists went into nature (plein-air-painting), to catch their subjects as they were. The surrounding light conditions let contours blur and the visual impression prevails (Atomization of the objective world).
Animal representations are among the oldest motifs of human painting (as we find them in prehistoric cave painting) as well as of fine art.They inform us about the relation between man and animal in their time. However, pure animal images, where animals are not only symbolical attributes of the persons depicted, are a rather young development. In ancient times and in the Middle ages animals referred mostly to certain qualities of the depicted persons or they symbolized gods. In the Renaissance perception and representation of animals changed. A first high point of the representation of animals was the Dutch animal genre painting of the 17th century. In modern times it was the expressionist Franz Marc who created a great number of animal pictures.