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Post-impressionism, this word was coined or first used by English Artist and critic Roger Fry in 1906 and again in 1910, there are various characteristics of post-impressionism which would be discussed here for all the budding artist!

But before we go ahead with Post-impressionism, let’s first know about what lead to its existence, that is, impressionism.

What is Impressionism?

Impressionism was a major movement developed in France, during the time period of 19th and early 20th century. In impressionism, the artist in painting tried to attempt it accurately and objectively visual reality of the scenario by the use of transient effect of light and colour.

The artist practicing impressionism rejected the idea of conventional imaginative of even idealizing treatments of academic painting.

But in the Manets art, which acted like a guiding force in impressionist work. In this painting, the traditional subject matter which was to be painted was downgraded and actual importance was given to the manipulation of colour, tone and texture which was done by the artist.

The main focus of the viewer was on the surface patterns and relationship of the picture and not on the illusionary 3-D space it created.

The impressionist were more attracted towards the idea of working or painting outdoors rather than sitting in a studio and finishing up a painting from sketches, which was a conventional practice.

Impressionist when painted natural landscapes tried to dispassionately record or paint the colours and forms of object that appeared in the natural light, that appeared at the time of the painting. These artist usually painted their paintings in the lighter, sunnier and brilliant key.

But impressionism had a few drawbacks too, as the impressionist usually made efforts to reproduce immediate visual impression that is recorded by their retina, they use complementary colours and abandoned the use of greys and blacks in shadows. The picture that was formed due to this and various hues usually lose their clear outlines and became dematerialized, shimmering and vibrating, in an attempt of re-creating actual outdoor conditions.

What is post-impressionism?

Post impressionism, a French art movement was developed in between 1886 and 1905. The movement which occurred in the West was emerged as the reaction, which was against impressionism and majorly for its concern as it depicted light and colour.

Who are post-impressionist?

Impressionism was responded by most of the nascent generation of artist among them were, Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat, Vincent van Gogh and the eldest of the group Paul Cézanne.

These artist in the search of authentic intellectual and artistic achievements followed diverse paths. These artist who often worked independently, are today called post-impressionist.

These artist created some of the most amazing work in the western canon, some of them are The Starry Night, Two Tahitian Women and A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.

How post-impressionism combat the drawbacks of impressionism?

Impressionism was extended by post-impressionist but the limitations were rejected. This was done as the artist continued their practice of using vivid colours, a thick application of paint and real life subject matter.

But in post-impressionism artist was more inclined towards the emphasis of geometric forms and distort forms for a more expressive effect of the painting and this time used unnatural and random colours.

Major characteristics of Post-impressionism:

  • For post-impressionist such as Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh, the important thing that mattered to them were symbolic and highly personal meaning of the paintings. They more looked into their memories and emotions, so that they could connect to the viewer in a deeper level.
  • For post-impressionist such as Paul Cézanne, Georges Seurat and Paul Signac, aesthetic vision was dominated by structure, order and optical effects.
  • Most of the post-impressionist keep their focus on abstract form and pattern when it comes to application of paint on the surface of canvas. Radical modernist exploration of abstraction which took place in the early 20th century has paved it’s way through the early learnings towards abstraction.
  • Post-impressionism was grouped into two general opposing trends by the critics, that is, Cubism, it’s precursor was structured or geometric style, and Abstract Expressionism, which was expressive and non-geometric art.


Interesting, right? Because of such a great movement there are many people who want to learn Post-impressionism. So don’t you worry, all the budding artist!

Pencil and Chai-Fine Arts Gurukul is coming up with a new course where you can learn all about post-impressionism and be an artist in that! So what are you waiting for? Get set go and if interested you should definitely enroll yourself for this course!

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