What is Pointillism Art?

What Type of Art is Pointillism? History, Characteristics, and Examples of Pointillism Art
what is pointillism art

All of us have seen different pieces of art and art styles. Today, we will discuss what is Pointillism art, its technique and history.

1. What is Pointillism Art?

Pointillism is a technique or a practice that is used in painting, where small strokes or dots of different colors are applied on a sheet of paper or a canvas in a definite pattern. This is done so that, from a distance, they make a visual mix of colors from each other to form an image.

2. What is the Technique of Pointillism Art?

So, what is pointillism art technique? The technique relies on the capability of the human eye & human mind to form a painting out of the strokes from a given distance. It is called divisionism and chromoluminarism as well. The practice of pointillism is in the sharp contrasting style of the traditional methods of mixing and blending colors in palettes.

pointillism art 1

3. Which Colors are Used?

Just like our televisions, monitors, and other modern screen devices, the use of RGB viz Red, Green, & Blue colors is done. This type of art also uses Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key or Black (CMYK) to appear brighter. This helps negate the mixing of colors with one another. (See Which color is obtained by mixing red and yellow colors?)

4. What is the History of Pointillism Art?

Since we know what is pointillism art, we should now look into the history of this art. Pointillism art has taken its inspiration from the art of impressionism painting. This technique dates back to 1886 which was developed by two artists, George Seurat and Paul Signac.

The term pointillism was given by other art critics to mock this kind of technique. However, this term is now used as a reference more than the mockery. (Also see Why is the Statue of Liberty green?)

5. What are its Characteristics?

Pointillism stems away from the traditional form of art as it doesn’t follow any traditional methods or the use of tools like brushes and palettes. It relies quite heavily on the science of optics and the perceptive vision of the painter & the observer. Pointillism operates with the dotted patterns which create an image that is open to interpretation by the viewer. This works in the same way as computer screens or digital televisions work with pixels tightly packed with each other to form an image for the human eye. (Also read Why is The Mona Lisa So Expensive?)

6. Pointillism vs Impressionism

Pointillism art should not be confused or intermingled with Impressionism art. It is, bluntly put, a bunch of dots on a canvas and you can even call it Dottism. The actual definition that includes mixing paint and pigments optically, rather than on a palette, is termed Divisionism. Pointillism has more in common with Neo-Impressionism as it was considered to be the signature style of French paintings. The colors are not separate from each other, they just appear that way from a distance. However, if seen from up close, the illusion will break, and the different colors of dots will be visible.

7. Examples of Pointillism

  • The most famous painting was done by Geroge Seurat from 1884 to 1886 and it was titled A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. This painting was used as an inspiration for the poster of Season 8 of the popular sitcom, The Office (2005-2013).
  • Other notable paintings include Banks of Seine, The Pine Tree at St. Tropez, and The Windmills at Overschie by Paul Signac.
  • Another artist Theo van Rysselbreghe painted A Coastal Scene, Family in the Orchard, and Countryside at Noon.
  • And Henri-Edmond Cross painted Afternoon at Pardigon, Rio San Trovaso, and The Seine in front of the Trocadero.
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