Dots and dots and Pointillism

Dots and dots and Pointillism

It does make sense to name a technique of painting after what it’s really about. When Georges Seurat, however, presented his first paintings, he probably wouldn’t have guessed that the name the critics used to mock his work would result in the name Pointillism.

George Seurat
George Seurat in 1888
Source: Wikimedia

George Seurat is the founding father of this art form. He started experimenting with this technique as of 1886. His work leaned heavily on one other important art-movement: Impressionism.

Art critics weren’t too enthusiastic about his work. He was ridiculed and mocked. Not everyone agreed that this technique of painting with small, distinct colors was the way to go.

If you want to use a somewhat milder indication, Neo-Impressionism is the best term to use. It’s not okay to classify the work of Seurat as Divisionism. The technique may seem similar, but it’s not. The brushstrokes of this technique are much larger. Neo-Impressionism is all about those small strokes, transforming into something greater or maybe even magnificent. It all depends on what you find beautiful.

Unfortunate for him (and for us), Seurat wasn’t able to reveal the full potential of his creativity. Yes, he left a legacy of important (and beautiful) paintings. He died when he was only 31 years-old (29 March 1891).

Seurat wasn’t the only one who contributed to this art form. Names such as Camille Pissarro, Jan Toorop and even Vincent van Gogh painted using the same techniques as Seurat did at more than one occasion in their lives.

Amongst de masterpieces left by Seurat are “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte”,  “The Circus” and “Bathers at Asnières.” That are just some examples of his paintings. Seurat also made many drawings, that are on display all over the world – just like his paintings.

After Seurat, others made fame using his techniques. New art forms were born from this Pointillism. One of them is clearly the art movement we nowadays describe as Cubism.

The Circus
Le Cirque / The Circus (1891)
Source: Wikimedia
A Sunday on La Grande Jatte - Georges_Seurat (1884)
Un dimanche après-midi à l’Île de la Grande Jatte / A Sunday on La Grande Jatte (1884-1886)
Source: Wikimedia

Bathers at Asnières