Pointillism in Art History7709986

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What is pointillism?

Pointillism is a painting technique whereby thousands of tiny dots of a pure colour are applied to a canvas very close to one another to form a picture. The main concept behind pointillism is to use dots of only 2 to 3 colours in the particular area. Smaller the dots, the clearer the painting will probably be as well as the sharper its lines is going to be. The essential idea behind pointillism is your mind and eye blend the colors together to produce the picture when viewed from the distance.

Is there a specific material?

No - pointillism is focused on the painting technique. Whatever the topic is, as long as it's painted with small dots of pure colour. There are numerous famous paintings covering different subject matters that are painted inside the pointillist style. Examples include Vincent van Gogh's self-portrait and Paul Signac's Sunday, which depicts a Parisian couple in the home over a typical Sunday.

Who developed it?

Pointillism was created by Impressionist painters Georges Seurat and Paul Signac. Seurat's pointillism painting, Sunday Afternoon about the Island of los angeles Grande Jatte, is one of his most popular works and it is known across the world. This particular painting took over 2 yrs to complete and remains the most iconic pointillist painting. Seurat died in 1891 but Signac continued doing pointillism movement paintings and completed many paintings with all the technique.

When achieved it begin?

In 1886 Seurat and Signac pioneered this painting technique being a branch of Impressionism. Seurat originally called it 'divisionism,' discussing how a image is divided into many different dots of colour. However, art critics weren't too favourable and labelled this method 'pointillism' as an insult to pointillist works. The explanation for this was the critics didn't think pointillism was as renowned or impressive as other painting techniques. Nowadays, however, the phrase 'pointillism' can be used without the insulting connotations it had.

When did it reach its peak?

Pointillism reached its peak in the 1880s and 1890s. You can find hardly any artists of note that have done paintings in this fashion. One of the reasons why pointillism never had a greater impact was because pointillist paintings do not let for depth or texture. A complete range of colours can be produced in the pointillist painting, but pointillism was much more about a lot of little parts forming a complete. It absolutely was all about the technique and achieving the eye to join the dots, so to speak. It was never intended as taken seriously as a possible art movement, so it wasn't.


Though pointillism like a single art movement didn't take off as much as other movements, it did from the basis of neo-impressionism. This new branch of impressionism consisted of a more scientific approach to painting, looking at lines and hues in the more methodical way. This movement started waning by the end of the 19th century, nevertheless it influenced key painters including Vincent van Gogh, Henri Matisse and Paul Gaugouin.

Pointillism today

Pointillism is still utilized as a painting technique today. It's well past its peak, but many artists continue to be intrigued because of it and enjoy creating pointillist paintings. It offers another way of painting and makes you think of paintings in a different way. It may not be the most influential or well-known of movements, however it is remaining a mark.