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A new technical style in the 1880's

Pointillism art exampleThis new technical style came about with the Neo-Impressionist group in France, around the 1880's. The Impressionist attention to light and the pale, bright palette is still very evident in these works, but the technique is even more abrupt, more mechanically executed. Georges Seurat was the first painter to truly be interested in the research being done about color at the time [ mainly Chevreul's book that was published in 1839 on simultaneous contrasts of color and their reflections], that proved that clean colors placed next to each other become one cohesive color when viewed from a small distance. The revelation that the human eye was capable of 'creating' the third, visible color was considered revolutionary.

This led to the Pointillists, who wanted to create clear, figurative scenes using only pure pigments.

They would paint in clear primary colors, without mixing them on the palette or on the canvas. From close view these painting look a crazy jumble of chaotic colors woven tightly together. From some distance, the image is clarified as the eye 'creates' the fusion of color and thus the image.

Seurat was the first to cover the entire canvas with 'points' of pure color, giving the technique its name.

Pointillism Seurat art He painted “La Grande Jatte” in 1885 and “Une Baignade Asniers” in 1883-84, both of which depict scenes of city-dwelling bourgeoisie on the banks of a river, enjoying their free time. As with the Impressionist obsession with light and luminosity, these works try to capture the fleeting image of reality from one second to the next. Unlike the Impressionists, this style didn't manage to capture movement at all. Light does not dapple the trees or dazzle the water; instead it is frozen solid, like an idealized photograph.

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