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Virginia Woolf famously visited the post-impressionism exhibit in 1910 and was greatly impressed with what she saw, and thus a clear link can be made between her writing in this novel and post-impressionism. In fact, through the work of the artist Lily Briscoe, the link is made very obvious. Post-impressionism was a school of art which overtly was considered to be rather crude and lacking in detail, but rather than focusing on detail the aim of such artists was to try and capture what was eternal about their subject, rather than the mere appearnce. Consider what Lily thinks about her own work which she tries to make post-impressionistic:
...all those mounds of blue and green which seemed to her like clods with no life in them now, yet she vowed, she would inspire them, force them to move, flow, do her bidding tomorrow. How did she differ? What was the spirit in her, the essential thing, by which, had you found a crumpled glove in the corner of a sofa, you would have known it, from its twisted finger, as hers indisputably?
The link between the "mounds of blule and green" which have "no life in them" is an example of post-impressionistic work which lacks in sophistication and detail. The way that Lily goes on to think about the connection between her art and her life shows that Woolf is trying to achieve a similar impact in her work to the post-impressionists by focusing not so much on the detail but trying to capture the essence of the scenes and characters she describes.
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