Activities: Morisot

Detail from Berthe Morisot (1841–1895), Le Corsage Noir, 1878

Detail from Berthe Morisot, 'Le Corsage Noir' (1878)



Take a moment to look at the painting.

  • Is this work finished? Use visual evidence from the work to explain your answer.
  • Identify three distinct types of brushstroke and describe the way in which you imagine the artist achieved the effect, considering the type of brush used, the speed, pressure and direction in which the paint was applied.



Morisot’s daughter Julie had a very close relationship with Monet, Renoir and Degas. They supported her and often brought her on holidays after her parents passed away, leaving her an orphan at only sixteen years of age. Compare each of the three artists’ pictures included in this resource, according to the following themes:

  • The importance of light and colour in the work of the Impressionists
  • The influence of Japanese Prints on the work of the Impressionists
  • The experience and depiction of modern Parisian life in the 19th century 


Recreate the effect... Form

Morisot avoided line as much as possible. Create a still-life or portrait using colour and tone to build up the form of your subject, rather than line. It’s harder than you might think!

Create your own... Impressionist Portrait!

Ask a friend or family member to pose for you under a strong light source (by an open window, or beneath an artificial light). Paint their portrait, recording the way the light falls on them, by experimenting with your brushstroke and colour palette. As a follow up activity, replicate the painting using just two contrasting colours of your choice. Create darker tones by mixing complementary colours, an approach taken by the Impressionists in order to avoid using black paint, which they argued was an ‘unnatural’ colour.