oil painting » Painting techniques » Pointillism


Pointillism is a unique technique of painting that utilizes individual primary color dots to create a scene. The viewer’s eyes perceive the dots as combining together to create a scene. Pointillism is based on the Trichromatic color theory which states that the primary colors are red, green and blue and that these colors combined can form a mixture of colors and images. However, because pointillism relies on viewers fusing the individual dots together to perceive a scene, several flourishing pointillist artists worked to make their brushstrokes invisible. This removed the texture in paintings that was created by visible brushstrokes but adds many supplementary effects to the art piece such as vibrance and luminance, the results of sunlight on objects.

The brushstrokes in Paul Signac's "The windmills at Overschie" is visible while the brush strokes in Georges Seurat's "Une baignade, Asnieres" is not visible. Seurat's painting has a much more vibrant and luminant appearance.

Pointillism is frequently referred to as Post-Impressionism and is very much associated with Divisionism, another art form which focuses on separation of color. The difference between Pointillism and Divisionism is the method in which color is separated by brushstrokes - Pointillism uses only dots to segregate colors while Divisionism uses any means, whether it is dots, patches of color or brushstrokes to split the colors. Pointillism is also generally stated as an influence for Fauvism, a short lived style of art preferred by artists such as Paul Gauguin.

Georges-Pierre Seurat is one of the most well-known Pointillist artists. He created several famous pieces of art using this technique, including "Sunday Afternoon on the Island on La Grande Jatte". The Pointillism technique is also used by contemporary technologies such as television screens.


George Seurat-Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte Georges Lemmen-The Beach at Heist Henri-Edmond-Cross-Cap-Laye Paul Signac-The windmills at Overschie Georges Seurats-Une baignade, Asnieres