Pointillism in Art History1474878

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What is pointillism?

Pointillism is really a painting technique whereby 1000s of tiny dots of the pure colour are applied to a canvas not far from each other to form an image. The main concept behind pointillism is by using dots of only 2-3 colours inside a particular area. Smaller the dots, the clearer the painting is going to be and the sharper its lines is going to be. The essential idea behind pointillism is your mind and eye blend the shades together to make the image when viewed from a distance.

Does it have a specific material?

No - pointillism is all about the painting technique. It doesn't matter what the subject matter is, as long as it's painted with small dots of pure colour. There are numerous famous paintings covering different subject matters which are painted within the pointillist style. For example Vincent van Gogh's self-portrait and Paul Signac's Sunday, which depicts a Parisian couple in the home on a typical Sunday.

Who developed it?

Pointillism was developed by Impressionist painters Georges Seurat and Paul Signac. Seurat's pointillism painting, Sunday Afternoon around the Island of los angeles Grande Jatte, is just one of his most well-known works and is known throughout the world. This specific painting took control of a couple of years in order to complete and stays the most iconic pointillist painting. Seurat died in 1891 but Signac continued doing pointillism art movement paintings and completed many paintings with all the technique.

When did it begin?

In 1886 Seurat and Signac pioneered this painting technique as a branch of Impressionism. Seurat originally called it 'divisionism,' talking about the way the image is split into numerous dots of colour. However, art critics weren't too favourable and labelled this method 'pointillism' as a possible insult to pointillist works. The explanation for this is how the critics didn't think pointillism was as renowned or impressive as other painting techniques. Nowadays, however, the word 'pointillism' is used minus the insulting connotations it once suffered from.

When achieved it reach its peak?

Pointillism reached its peak inside the 1880s and 1890s. There are not many artists of note that have done paintings in this fashion. One of the reasons why pointillism never had a bigger impact was because pointillist paintings do not let for depth or texture. A complete array of colours can be produced in a pointillist painting, but pointillism was much more about a lot of little parts forming a complete. It was by pointing out technique and getting a person's eye to join the dots, as it were. It had been never supposed to have been given serious attention as a possible art movement, so that it wasn't.


Though pointillism as a single art movement didn't take off around other movements, it did make up the first step toward neo-impressionism. This new branch of impressionism consisted of a more scientific approach to painting, looking at lines and colors in a more methodical way. This movement started waning after the Nineteenth century, nevertheless it influenced key painters for example Vincent van Gogh, Henri Matisse and Paul Gaugouin.

Pointillism today

Pointillism remains used as a painting technique today. It's well past its peak, but some artists continue to be intrigued about it and enjoy creating pointillist paintings. It offers another way of painting and allows you to think about paintings in another way. It may not be one of the most influential or well-known of movements, but it's quit an indication.