[pleyn-air; French ple-ner]
- pertaining to a manner or style of painting developed chiefly in France in the mid-19th century, characterized by the representation of the luminous effects of natural light and atmosphere as contrasted with the artificial light and absence of the sense of air or atmosphere associated with paintings produced in the studio.
- designating a painting executed out of doors and representing a direct response to the scene or subject in front of the artist.
- (of a painting) having the qualities of air and natural light.
Origin of plein-air
First recorded in 1890–95; adj. use of plein air
[pleyn air; French ple ner]
- the open air, especially the daylight of outdoors.
- Fine Arts. the quality of light and atmosphere out of doors, especially this quality as rendered in painting.
Origin of plein air
1890–95; < French: literally, full air
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for plein-air
All three pictures are full of plein-air effect, the one at Verona especially.Great Masters in Painting: Perugino
George C. Williamson
This was the sentimental echo of his former genuine enthusiasm for plein-air effects.
About 1881 he seems to have exhausted his direct interest in the plein-air movement.
Of course, plein-air painting was at first the chief object of their endeavours.The History of Modern Painting, Volume 3 (of 4)
But in the orchestra of Strauss, the color-gamut of the plein-air painters got a musical equivalent.Musical Portraits
- of or in the manner of various French 19th-century schools of painting, esp impressionism, concerned with the observation of light and atmosphere effects outdoors
C19: from French phrase en plein air in the open (literally: full) air
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for plein-air
1894, from French phrase en plein air, literally "in the open air." The style developed among French impressionists c.1870.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper