Characteristics of post impressionism/origin/Artists and Work


Post – Impressionism the term applied to painting styles that were developed in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century , in the period after the impressionism . It is an artificial word that is coined a posteriori, that is, when that time had passed and the artists were not alive. Characteristics of post-impressionism

Although post-impressionism is posited as an extension of impressionism, it is at the same time a rejection of the limitations that this predecessor movement had left. The Post-Impressionists used many impressionist techniques but tried to capture the expanse and emotion in their paintings.

Discover in this article this particular era of the plastic arts below. Learn what post-impressionism is, its origin, its main characteristics and its most prominent exponents.

What is post-impressionism

None of the artists who were called Post-Impressionists were aware of being in the artistic stage of Post-Impressionism. It was a historical term that was used long after these exponents of the art had passed away .

It was a set of artistic techniques, trends and styles that were based on the impressionist model. His central idea was not to deny, forget or repudiate impressionism , but rather he sought to perfect it.

For the Post-Impressionists, vivid color and two-dimensionality were very important values ​​in their works. They continued to use paint compactly, color in its purest form, reflecting real-life themes; but they presented a vision of the world much more subjective than the impressionist tendency.

Post-impressionism supposes the recovery of drawing as an important element and the concern of not only capturing light but also the expressiveness of illuminated objects and people . It can be said that it had a great significance in the evolution of art. Characteristics of post-impressionism

Enhance your reading: Metal age definition/stages/characteristics/Social organization

Origin of post-impressionism

The term post-impressionism was first used by Roger Eliot Fry, a British art critic to describe the works exhibited in London at the Grafton Galleries in 1910. The exhibition included paintings by Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin ; who, together with Georges Serat, were the most prominent representatives of the trend.

Post-Impressionism emerged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries , not as a single style but as a set of various trends, techniques, and styles based on Impressionism.

Many of the artists who in time were called Post-Impressionists worked first with Impressionism. After grouping techniques and characteristics from different styles together, they ended up redefining the original Impressionism and followed subtly different patterns.

Characteristics of Post-Impressionism

  • It admits the importance of the human , subjective, sentimental and emotional side in artistic expression.
  • Keep using bright and pure colors .
  • Represents topics related to real life .
  • It offers a more subjective view of the world.
  • Some painters, such as Paul Signac and Georges Seurat, include the technique of pointillism .
  • Experiment with image strength, contour, and color .

Featured Artists and Works

These were some of the main representatives of Post-Impressionism:

Paul Gauguin | 1848 – 1903

He begins his work with impressionism, assisted by Pissarro. He leaves his comfortable life with his family and travels to Paris, Great Britain and finally to Tahiti; in this place she paints the series of Tahitian women. Characteristics of post-impressionism

It highlights the expressive use of color in strong, vivid and, in most cases, arbitrary tones . It arranges the color on large planes that are delimited by curved linear rhythms. He presented two themes: the exotic world of Tahiti and the primitivism of Great Britain.

Gauguin’s works are mostly related to symbolism and his sense of color influences the Fauvists and Expressionists. He completely renounces perspective, eliminates modeling and the use of shadows, and identifies a sense of plane typical of Japanese paintings.

Paul Cézanne | 1839 – 1906

His work recovers the volume, with the use of drawing, geometry and the definition of shapes using brushstrokes that are known as constructive. It achieves all of the above without having to give up intense color by using colored contrasts and shadows.

In his paintings the foreground is strengthened and small distortions are made due to the use of various points of view (still lifes). Cézanne’s art is, without a doubt, the starting point of Cubism .

Vincent van Gogh | 1853 – 1890

He paints landscapes and figures with meandering and resplendent shapes that reveal his inner fire. He is passionate about colors as a way of expressing the depressions and anguish that he had to live.

Van Gogh’s brushstroke was characteristic: thick and cursive, with colors that can be aggressive, using infrequent contrasts such as yellow on orange. It is the door that allows the entry of expressionism in the twentieth century. Characteristics of post-impressionism

Enhance your reading: Copper age definition/first uses/Balkans/Social organization

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec | 1864 – 1901

In his works he tries to reflect the atmosphere in the night rooms, with dancers, prostitutes and singers. His technique is identified by the drawing, the ironic charge, the capture of movement and his cartoonish style . He was the promoter of the poster.

Outstanding works

  • Tahitian Women (Paul Gauguin)
  • The Card Players (Paul Cézanne)
  • Wheatfield with Crows (Van Gogh)
  • Moulin Rouge La Goulue (Lautrec)

Post-impressionism disciplines

Post-Impressionism developed mainly in painting, where the attempt was made to reproduce reality rather than illusion. Drawing and expressiveness were aspects that were given greater importance.

But painting was not the only visual arts discipline influenced by Post-Impressionism. Some examples of architecture and sculpture that reflected techniques and styles related to this artistic trend can also be mentioned.


I was looking for symmetry and began to use geometry , leaving aside asymmetric styles. The idea of ​​making simple compositions, loaded with harmony, was pursued . It used to be built in the baroque and gothic style, considered one of the most suitable. Spiral and curved lines were the central figures.


The sculptors who reflected this trend, managed to create harmonious elements in complete balance with the environment . The sculptor who stood out the most was Aristide Maillol, who admired early Greek sculpture, used figures of nude women as a representation of victory, mixing emotion with sobriety. Characteristics of post-impressionism

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Back to top button