What two stylistic directions did the Post-Impressionist artist take?  Cite two representative artists from each direction.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The Post- Impressionists sought to advance the genre from what they felt the Impressionists lacked.  Post- Impressionists were not necessarily "impressed" with the Impressionist approach to art and the results from it.  The Post- Impressionists sought to construct a new vision to art.  Yet, as with all potency within new visions, it took on multiple forms, making it difficult to fully grasp a singular focus to Post- Impressionism.  The result of was an artistic movement whose style moved into at least two different directions.

One stylistic aspect that the Post- Impressionists embraced was a more defined nature of subject.  The Impressionists composed work from an "in plain air" point of reference.  This not only indicated the style in which the Impressionists sought to work, but also the nature of their composition.  Impressionists were geared towards what was in the mind's eye and one's initial interaction with a particular subject.  Light brush strokes and temporal qualities of lighting played major roles in constructing pieces that might have lacked much in way of centrality of focus.  The Post- Impressionists wanted to change this by offering more definition in works on canvas.  Their use of colors in Post- Impressionists was much more defined and stronger in terms of resonance with the work and audience.  At the same time, there was a centrality of focus in terms of image that Post- Impressionists featured which made it fundamentally different than Impressionism.

There were two distinct stylistic movements that emerged from this vision. Thinkers like Seurat and Signac were critical in developing the style of Pointilism.  In this post- Impressionist approach, seemingly insignificant dots are arranged in a pattern to develop an entire image.  Centrality is evident in the sequenced arrangement in which something small reveals something larger and more encompassing.  This is stylistic movement away from the strokes and "impression" aspect of its predecessors.  There was a blending from individualized notions of construction into a larger aesthetic.  The viewer's eye was critical to assembling this larger construction.  In this style, one sees a distinct movement away from Impressionism. Works like Seurat's "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of Le Grande Jatte" and "The Papal Palace" from Signac represent the Pointilism that helped to define one aspect of Post- Impressionism's approach to style.

The work of Paul Cezanne represented another approach to style in Post- Impressionism.  Cezanne was direct about his stylistic intent in that he wanted to "make of Impressionism something solid and durable, like the art of the museums."  Heavy and repetitive brushstrokes were in stark contrast to the lightness of Impressionism. Cezanne wanted to convey a deep and intense study of his subjects, something that reflected the imprint left on his mind with that of the audience.There is an element of solidity, of firmness, that is conveyed in Cezanne's work.  While what he sees is his impression, its indelibility is conveyed in the thickness of technique, as well as stark use of color.  Cezanne's style is evident in the desire for structure in his work:

From him [Cezanne] we have learned that to alter the coloring of an object is to alter its structure. His work proves without doubt that painting is not—or not any longer—the art of imitating an object by lines and colors, but of giving plastic [solid] form to our nature.

The element of form in Cezanne's style helped to establish another direction within the Post- Impressionist movement.  Within Cezanne and Seurat, one sees the two distinct stylistic directions that the Post- Impressionist artist embraced.

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rachellopez's profile pic

rachellopez | Student, Grade 12 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Post-Impressionism is used to describe the development of French art since Manet (a french painter). Édouard Manet was a 19th century artist and was one of the first to paint modern life. He helped the transition from Realism to Impressionism.

One stylistic change Post-Impression artists made was the use of geometric figures. The still used vivid colors and real-life subjects, but they distorted it. Paul Cezanne was one artist who "reduced objects to their basic shapes", but he still kept the colors used for Impressionism.

Another style that emerged during this time was Neo-Impressionism. This came from Georges Seurat's ideas that by putting tiny dots of pure colors next to each other, the viewer of the painting would see the two colors mixed together and form a color.

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