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a term used in painting to denote the portrayal of the broad range of light changes caused by sunlight and air. Plein-air painting developed as a result of the work of artists who painted outdoors directly from nature in order to render more accurately the appearance of the natural world.
The earliest paintings executed en plein air are the works of several 17th-century Italian Renaissance artists. However, the principles of plein-air painting actually became popular in the first half of the 19th century. The technique was adopted by J. Constable in England and A. A. Ivanov in Russia. In the mid-19th century, it was adopted by the Barbizon school (T. Rousseau, J. Dupré, N. V. Diaz de la Peña, C.-F. Daubigny) and C. Corot. Plein-air painting was much valued in the second half of the 19th century by the impressionists, including C. Monet, C. Pissarro, and A. Renoir. In Russia, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, noteworthy plein-air paintings were executed by V. D. Polenov, I. I. Levitan, V. A. Serov, K. A. Koro-vin, and I. E. Grabar’. Interest in the technique has continued in 20th-century art.