They weren’t rebellious in a predetermined way because they had no other choice.
Here was a band of artistic brothers and sisters, who had developed an original and compelling way of painting, in and around Paris during the 1860s and 70s. However, they had found their route to success block by an oppressive art establishment but because they were in ‘Post-Revolutionary” Paris they were not about to fold up their easels and give up.
Their trouble had started when they had fallen foul of the ‘stuffy’ Academy which expected artist to produce work based on mythology, religion and history in a style that suited the subject.
This work wasn’t what interested this group, they wanted to leave their studios and go outside to document the modern world around them.
It was a bold move because artist simply didn’t wander off and paint random ‘low’ subjects such as ordinary people picnicking or drinking or walking, it wasn’t the done thing.
Artists were expected to stay in their studios and produce picturesque images of beautiful landscapes or heroic images of time gone by, that was what the great and the good demanded and that’s what they got.
Until the Impressionists came along that is, they change the game by breaking down the wall between studio and real life. Many artists before gone outside to observe, but they would then go back to the studios to incorporate their observations in to fictionalised scenes.
The Impressionists mostly stayed outside where they started and finished their paintings of modern metropolitan life, they had come to the conclusion that their new subject demanded a new technical approach.