Post-Impressionism ๐ŸŽจ๐Ÿ–Œ๐Ÿ–ผ

Avenue ร  Chantilly, Paul Cรฉzanne, 1888, National Gallery, London

The term post-Impressionism was used much later than the times when painters started diverging from the approaches used by impressionist painters. Paul Cรฉzanne, recognised as the father of post-Impressionism, was among the first to react to the progressive loss of defined shapes and the representation of nature of the impressionists, giving more emphasis to geometric forms and the usage of unnatural or arbitrary colours. In his painting, Avenue ร  Chantilly, Cรฉzanne proposes a landscape perspective constructed with various layers of colour that bring the viewer down the path at the centre of the painting.

Wheatfield with Cypresses, Vincent Van Gogh, 1889, National Gallery, London

Vincent van Gogh followed in the same footsteps as his predecessors, painting impressionistic scenes close to his immediate world. Wheatfield with Cypresses is inspired by the view from the window of his room in Saint-Remy, in the South of France, where he was spending some time in a mental asylum, in the summer of 1889. The artistic result of his personal perception of this view is not impressionistic, because it is actually studied, from an initial plain air study, and elaborated to obtain a projection that trascends reality, towards different dimensions of his imaginary world.

Self portrait, Georges Seurat, 1890, Private collection

Another artistic development, away from Impressionism, was proposed by Georges Seurat and his followers, with their technique of pointillism, in which images are blended together from small dots of colours applied to the canvas. This technique is no longer used in painting but has inspired some colour printing processes that use combinations of dots of cyan, blue, yellow and black to generate the full range of colours or red, green and blue (RGB) colours on computer or television screens.

Femmes de Tahiti, Paul Gauguin, 1894, Musรฉe dโ€™Orsay, Paris

This painting belongs to the initial period Paul Gauguin spent in Tahiti, where he wanted “to live there in ecstasy, calm and art.” The painter moved in 1891 to the South Pacific from Paris, escaping the “European fight after money” and to be “finally free”. This double portrait, Femmes de Tahiti, represents two young women on the beach, one dressed with a traditional pareo and the other one, in contrast, with a more rigorous missionary dress. The use of plein, vivid and contrasting colours of the two figures and in the background, the dark lines contouring the shapes are a world away from impressionist style, that even Gauguin embraced in his early period as a painter,

Lac dโ€™Annecy, Paul Cezanne, 1894 Courtauld Institute of London

In the YouTube below a brief presentation about the various approaches encompassed by the term post-Impressionism as a bridge term towards different artistic movements.

Visual Art


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