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Divisionism Definition: Learn about the Artist Who Uses Dots to Paint

20.09.2021
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Artist Who Uses Dots to Paint

Every artist who managed at least a year or two to study at the art academy must have an idea of ​​the theory of color. About the main, complementary, contrasting, cold and warm colors. But divisionism is the first painting technique entirely based on the scientific theory of color. A technique based on the solid foundation of many years of research in the field of optics.

Divisionism (chromoluminarism) is a pictorial method based on the purposeful decomposition of a complex color tone into spectrally pure colors, which are applied to the canvas with dots of various configurations, and then, when the viewer perceives the picture from a certain position, they optically merge into the color desired by the artist in the retina of the eye.

Elements of divisionism definition clearly manifest themselves already in the plein air painting of the Impressionists, who used this method rather intuitively, guided by emotions and observation, rather than knowledge and reason.

The founders are considered artists – Georges Seurat divisionism and Paul Signac, who tried to bring the empirical findings of their predecessors to their logical conclusion, combining art and science. Based on the psychophysiology of color perception and the theoretical works of Eugene Chevreul, Ogden Rude and Hermann Helmholtz, they scientifically substantiated a new painting method and practically applied it in their work.

Divisionism art contrasted the chaos and chaos of the Impressionist strokes with a clear system of calculating and superimposing points, which made the artist’s work very difficult and time-consuming, and the writing method was strict and dry, but at the same time led to the effect of creating more intense colors, tones, and light in painting.

Divisionism art
  • Camille Pissarro, who briefly joined the neo-impressionists, called them “scientific impressionists”, thereby emphasizing the fundamental difference between his former comrades (“romantic impressionists”) and new young associates.
  • As a movement, divisionism and pointillism developed in addition to France in Belgium (Theo Van Risselberg) and especially in Italy (Giovanni Segantini) at the end of the 19th century, becoming there one of the sources of the emergence of futurism.
  • Masters of Divisionism: Georges Seurat, Paul Signac, Camille Pissarro, Lucien Pissarro, Henri Edmond Cross, Charles Théophile Angran, Maximilian Luce, Hippolyte Ptijan, Georges Lemmen, Theo Van Risselberghe, Giovanni Segantini.

Now you know what is divisionism and who is the representative of this art.

History of the Beginning

History of the Divisionism

Unlike most art styles and currents, Divisionism has an exact date of birth, a first iconic painting, and a recognized founder. On May 15, 1886, the Eighth Impressionist Exhibition opened on Rue Lafitte in Paris. The catalog of works contained only two names from that voluminous list of impressionist artists who participated in the first exhibitions more than 10 years ago – Edgar Degas and Berthe Morisot. There were many reasons for the mass refusal of the rest, but the main one was that everyone quarreled because Georges Seurat, artist who uses dots to paint, participated in the exhibition with a strange and defiantly huge painting “Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte”.

A few days before the opening, rumors circulated in Paris: the guaranteed sensation of this exhibition would be a 2 by 3 meter canvas, painted in just three colors. Believe it or not, the lady in the foreground is leading a monkey with a ridiculously long tail on a leash.

Seeing in the new trend only “exercises of artsy virtuosos”, Monet, Renoir, Caillebotte and Sisley refused to participate in the Eighth Exhibition. For the paintings, which seemed to have emerged from the laboratory of a diligent researcher of color, it was decided to allocate a separate narrow room. They were hung so low that sometimes the audience had to kneel to view and appreciate a new painting technique never used before. The paintings of Georges Seurat, Paul Signac, and with them Camille Pissarro and his son Lucien, who are passionate about the new style, were written by the artist who uses dots.

The technique was so new and unusual that the audience could not distinguish between Signac and Pissarro. Even Paul Gauguin, himself a novice in the company of the old-timers-Impressionists, called Seurat and Signac “immature chemists who pile point after point.” In a word, few people understood and figured it out.

Divisionism Art Definition

Oddly enough, a new artistic method was invented at the retrograde Academy of Fine Arts. The artist Georges Seurat the dot studied here for 2 years, but unlike many students who diligently copied plaster busts and painted from life, he enthusiastically studies scientific publications on color and light in the academic library.

Seurat dropped out of the academy, but learned a lot from studying library folios. Very soon, this knowledge would form the basis of a new pictorial language (divisionism) and a whole artistic movement (pointillism). Their essence is as follows:

artist Georges Seurat
  • The old masters mixed paints on a palette, and the impressionists – right on the canvas. The paints do not need to be mixed at all, but the pure colors of the spectrum should be applied in small strokes – and then they would mix in the eyes of the viewer;
  • When the colors are mixed not physically, but in the form of light streams, the whole picture seems to be filled with light, radiates light;
  • The best way to apply smears for effective optical mixing can be considered a small dot. But the shape of the brushstroke is not so important – the main thing is that the size of the brushstroke matches the size of the painting, and individual strokes do not overlap. The smear should not imitate the shape of the object and convey meaning.
  • This method excludes the painterly skill and virtuosity of the artist from the process – and fixes the importance of his perception of the world, a sense of harmony;
Is pointism a divisionism
  • At the same time, the color scale and composition of the work are of equal importance. The divisionist artist George Seurat self-portrait does not work in the open air, but in the studio. First, he decides what feeling he wants to convey in each specific work, and for a joyful picture he chooses ascending lines and warm colors, and for a sad one – descending lines and cold colors;
  • Paintings should only be painted on a white canvas – the white color of the base enhances the shine. It is worth decorating pictures only with white frames – they create a correct exit from the space of the picture into the space of the wall;
  • You need to look at the paintings of the neo-impressionists from a certain distance – then the effect of optical mixing of pure colors would be achieved.
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