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Impressionism captured the world's imagination in the late nineteenth century and remains with us today. Portraying the dynamic effects of modernity, impressionist artists revolutionized the arts and the wider culture. Impressionism transformed the very pattern of reality, introducing new ways to look at and think about the world and our experience of it. Its legacy has been felt in many major contributions to popular and high culture, from cubism and early cinema to the works of Zadie Smith and W. G. Sebald, from advertisements for Pepsi to the observations of Oliver Sacks and Malcolm Gladwell. Yet impressionism's persistence has also been a problem, a matter of inauthenticity, superficiality, and complicity in what is merely "impressionistic" about culture today.
Jesse Matz considers these two legacies—the positive and the negative—to explain impressionism's true contemporary significance. As Lasting Impressions moves through contemporary literature, painting, and popular culture, Matz explains how the perceptual role, cultural effects, and social implications of impressionism continue to generate meaning and foster new forms of creativity, understanding, and public engagement.