Pointillism in Art History395443

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What exactly is pointillism?

Pointillism is a painting technique whereby 1000s of tiny dots of the pure colour are put on a canvas near one another to make a picture. The key concept behind pointillism is to apply dots of just 2 to 3 colours inside a particular area. Smaller the dots, the clearer the painting will be and the sharper its lines will be. The basic idea behind pointillism is that your mind and eye blend the shades together to create the look when viewed from a distance.

Is there a specific subject matter?

No - pointillism is all about the painting technique. Whatever the subject matter is, provided that it's painted with small dots of pure colour. There are lots of 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 the 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 La Grande Jatte, is among his most well-known works and it is known throughout the world. This specific painting took control of two years to complete and remains probably the most iconic pointillist painting. Seurat died in 1891 but Signac continued doing pointillism art definition paintings and completed many paintings with all the technique.

When made it happen begin?

In 1886 Seurat and Signac pioneered this painting technique being a branch of Impressionism. Seurat originally referred to it as 'divisionism,' discussing what sort of image is divided into a variety of dots of colour. However, art critics weren't too favourable and labelled this technique 'pointillism' as a possible insult to pointillist works. The reason behind this was that the critics didn't think pointillism was as renowned or impressive as other painting techniques. Nowadays, however, the phrase 'pointillism' is utilized without the insulting connotations it once suffered from.

When did 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 don't allow for depth or texture. A full range of colours can be accomplished in the pointillist painting, but pointillism was a little more about lots of little parts forming a whole. It had been all about the technique and achieving the eye to join the dots, as it were. It absolutely was never intended to be taken seriously as a possible art movement, so it wasn't.


Though pointillism as a single art movement didn't lose up to other movements, it did form the first step toward neo-impressionism. This new branch of impressionism contained an even more scientific method of painting, taking a look at lines and hues in the more methodical way. This movement started waning after the 19th century, nevertheless it influenced key painters for example Vincent van Gogh, Henri Matisse and Paul Gaugouin.

Pointillism today

Pointillism continues to be used as a painting technique today. It's well past its peak, however, many artists continue to be intrigued about it and luxuriate in creating pointillist paintings. It offers another way of painting and enables you to think about paintings in different ways. It might not be the most influential or well-known of movements, but it's still left an indication.