The Instigator
Pro (for)
7 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Turner's Rain, Steam, and Speed is a truer impressionist painting than Monet's Impression, Sunrise

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/26/2008 Category: Arts
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,945 times Debate No: 5797
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (1)




Claude Monet's famous "Impression, Soleil Levant" (Impression, Sunrise) was so influential to a growing art movement in Paris that the movement was named for it and became Impressionism. This style of art can be defined as the primacy of color and brushstroke over the strict lines of the subject, and the all-importance of light. This makes for a stream-of-consciousness type of painting. Where earlier painters had concentrated on realism, the impressionists sought to portray the bare facts of the scene without constricting it to a still life scene. This allows the viewer to form his own conception of the scene, unlike with a photograph or a realist painting.

I argue that J.M.W. Turner's earlier painting "Rain, Steam, and Speed" was in fact a better expression of the impressionist philosophy, even though it was painted before that word had any meaning.

Monet's "Impression, Sunrise:"

Turner's "Rain, Steam, and Speed:"


I would like to thank my opponent for his excellent and cultured debate subject. I will attempt to provide several intelligent refutations in my rebuttal, and I hope I will provide a challenge for my opponent.


For the voters of this debate who may not know what impressionism is (as I didn't until posting this).

Characteristics of Impressionist painting include visible brush strokes, open composition, emphasis on light in its changing qualities (often accentuating the effects of the passage of time), ordinary subject matter, the inclusion of movement as a crucial element of human perception and experience, and unusual visual angles.


While J.M.W.'s earlier painting (painted in 1844) does arguable match a few of aspects of impressionism above, it fails to incorporate ordinary subject matter. While a train may seem like ordinary subject matter today, in J.M.W.'s time this was a relatively new and exciting invention.

The first for public use, and on cast iron rails, was the Surrey Iron Railway incorporated in 1799. It obtained an Act of Parliament on 21 May 1801 to build a tramroad between Wandsworth and Croydon in what is now south London; the engineer was William Jessop.[4] Although it survived only until 1845 and was for freight traffic only, it prefaced many others in different parts of the country. Meanwhile, the first passenger-carrying public railway was the Oystermouth Railway, authorised in 1807. All three of these railways were initially worked by horses; the Surrey Iron Railway remained horse-drawn throughout its life.
Baxter, Bertram (1966). Stone Blocks and Iron Rails. Newton Abbot: David & Charles.

While my opponent may contend that the portrait was meant to depict earlier trains, I would like to contend that they were horse drawn and no horses were shown in the picture. Additionally this picture was of the Great Western Railway Crossing the Thames river.
^ Gerald E. Finley (1999), Angel in the Sun: Turner's vision of history, McGill-Queen's Press, ISBN 0773517472,

The first section of the Great Western Railway was opened from London to a temporary station on the east side of the Thames at Maidenhead on 4 June 1838. The remaining line was opened in stages as the engineering works were completed:

MacDermot, E T (1927). History of the Great Western Railway, volume I 1833-1863. London: Great Western Railway.

Therefore it does not satisfy this count. This is contrasting to Monet's Impression, Sunrise, which satisfied the requirement of ordinary subject matter.

Additionally light plays no to little part in "Rain, Steam, and Speed" whereas Monet's portrait clearly shows the sun on the small ripples of a body of water. The portrait clearly shows how the light changes colors as it becomes closer to the viewer. The light is brighter toward the tree-line than towards the lower end of the picture.

Furthermore, Monet represents the French movement because his nationality is French, whereas J.M.W. is a British painter whose portrait was of a British landscape.

Therefore I negate J.M.W.'s painting: "Rain, Steam, and Speed," is a better expression of Impressionist philosophy for the clear reasons shown above. I would like to thank my opponent for his excellent debate subject. I would also like to thank him for expanding my knowledge and the knowledge of many voters reading this debate. I look forward to your rebuttal.
Debate Round No. 1


Hear ye, hear ye.

My opponent's account has been closed by the harebrained management. I believe Scissorhands got himself banned on purpose, sick of the way a few sociopaths have been running roughshod over this site lately, and the failure of the "team" to do anything about it. Scissorhands7 was a canny debater and a positive aspect to the site. The fact that he's gone is slowly eroding my will to remain here.

I haven't the heart to debate his final argument; perhaps when order is restored we will see him again. I have not been vote-bombed yet, perhaps after this I shall be. The whole us vs. them political mentality has finally surged to the surface on this site, and until it can be resolved constructive debating is, perhaps, at a standstill. Observe that the first person to accept this debate forfeited, and the second had his account closed by the administrators.




scissorhands7 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


SolaGratia forfeited this round.


scissorhands7 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by askbob 8 years ago
To SolaGratia, I will never be gone until I find a new debate site to inhibit *its currently in the works* Or until Phil decides that the members of this site are merely frustrated at the current situation, and forgoes banning them except on the counts of doing really nasty things, nothing of which me and LRN4 did. LRN4 simply was angry about the situation and Phil banned him. I thought this was rather unfair/rude especially since I doubt Phil gave him a warning. So I was angry because had LNR used profanities, posted pornography, clogged up the forums with vulgarities, made hateful threats etc. I would have been angry at LNR. However he simply stated his opinion, which should be the whole idea of the forums, yes I realize Phil might have been having a hard day and I don't blame him for getting angry. However I just wish Phil would have walked away from the computer desk, got a bowl of Icecream and called up his wife and said "I'm having a hard day today and they could have chilled for the afternoon and just sent a message to all the debaters explaining the current situation.

However he banned him so I copied and pasted his message on the forums and said I advocated freedom of speech and was banned.

When my account forfeits this round pleased post your rebuttal and I will respond later in the comment section.

Phil if your reading this, seriously man please dont ban me again. I mean if you want to by all means go ahead, i'll just eventually get another one and post my rebuttal in the comments section to sola.

Sorry sola for this disruption. It's partially my fault and I apologize. Also I'd like to apologize for frustrating Phil on what probably was just a bad day.
Posted by scissorhands7 8 years ago
I changed my mind. I could use a learning experience on this one. Also I dont want you to get the wrong impression about debaters on this site, so I'll attempt to do my best sola.
Posted by scissorhands7 8 years ago
I'd accept this debate, however I'm certainly not knowledgable to debate this topic.

Its nice to see that there are art lovers on this site. Props to sola
Posted by SolaGratia 8 years ago
Thank you, brian_eggleston. I love Turner, and art in general. However, this is the second time I've posted this...first person forfeited. Perhaps I misjudged the other debaters on Ah, well.
Posted by brian_eggleston 8 years ago
How refreshing, a debater who clearly appreciates art. Personally, I would tend to agree with Pro's contention and wouldn't be knowledgeable enough to contradict him if I didn't, otherwise I would take this one on.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Renzzy 8 years ago
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