The pointillism , an interesting way of painting that developed at the end of the nineteenth century, time in which was especially popular and which involved the use of small dots of primary colors to create images within which you can see secondary colors . This technique was first used to describe the work of the French artist Georges Seurat . The style of Pointillism is considered part of the Post-Impressionist period , a movement that continued with many of the ideals of Impressionism such as the artist’s ability to place what appears in the mind’s eye on canvas.for the viewer. In pointillism, the emphasis on color comes at a substantial cost in terms of form and movement.


What is pointillism?

Pointillism or divisionism is a painting technique that seeks a way to represent light through the application of points , which when seen from a certain distance , compose well-defined figures and landscapes .


What is the pointillism technique?

As a technique that has its origin in the Impressionist masters, Pointillism does not use brush strokes, but instead is based on the use of small dots of different colors on a surface to create depth in a work of art and to give rise to different color games . By doing so, the artist can create incredibly subtle variations in color that would otherwise appear clumsy. In the paintings made in pointillism, all the colors are pure and never mix with each other but rather it is the eye of the beholder who does it.



The main characteristics of pointillism are the following:

  • In pointillism the colors used are completely pure , they never mix.
  • Through the points it is possible to give a feeling of depth in the works.
  • It manages to obtain color ranges through the application of dots.
  • Only primary colors are used and the eye is in charge of mixing.
  • In paintings there is the feeling that light emanates from bodies .
  • The rising lines of pointillism, warm colors and light values expressed joy.
  • The descending lines , cold colors, and dark values represented sadness.
  • Pointillism reflects order , clarity and planning
  • The main themes chosen to paint using this technique were ports , banks of rivers and scenes circus .
  • They care about volume .

What materials and tools do you need to make pointillism?

The materials needed to perform the technique are not many but they are basic, these are:

  • canvas , which can be paper or blank cardboard.
  • Color paints .
  • Pens or pens.
  • Pencils , colored or other.

How exactly is it done

The steps required to perform the pointillism technique are as follows:

  • Think about the image you want to represent , for it can expand the drawing and then see the sources of light that you have to determine where more and where less light is needed.
  • Decide on the medium to be used for stippling, which can be a fine point pen , black or colored pencils and paint , although the latter option is not highly recommended.
  • Start creating the shapes of the drawings but without drawing any type of line , everything must be with points.
  • Dot the images that have been made by establishing a specific starting point. The plucking is done by pressing the pen or pencil placing the dots on the paper.
  • Once you start to see the shapes, you also start adding details .


A new and different style, whose technique was based on the application of small juxtaposed dots of pure color, appeared at the end of the 19th century under the name of pointillism. The founder of pointillism was Georges Seurat , a model student at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Georges Seurat declared the Impressionist style old-fashioned with his monumental ” Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte ” in 1886. Seurat developed a system of notation that juxtaposed pure colors and theoretically produced a luminosity greater than could be achieved, because the placed strokes of color would merge in the eye of the viewer, avoiding the “haze” of the mixing of palettes or mixing of colors on the canvas.


Even though the golden age of pointillism is over, many of the concepts and ideas are still used by artists today, in many different mediums. The importance he returned to the drawing that had been put aside to give field to a series of spots with colored .


Among the main representatives of pointillism we can mention:

  • Georges Seurat – Perhaps the most famous of the pointillists is Georges Seurat, a French artist who lived in the late 19th century . During his tragically short life he served as one of the true pioneers of Pointillism combining a considerable mastery of Chrome Luminism , or the practice of leaving blank spaces on the canvas between dots , to create a level of light that would otherwise be impossible. . Among his most famous works we mention ” Sunday Afternoon ” a work based on the island of Grande Jatte.
  • Paul Signac – Another prominent painter famous for his travels around the Mediterranean. The bright colors that he used with the pointillist technique allowed him to portray the images in an exotic way . among his most important works we can mention ” The Grand Canal ” (Venice).

Other important pointillist painters were Henri-Edmond Cross, Yael Rigueira , Chuck Close, and Vlaho Bukovac. Vincent Van Gogh also created some of his famous paintings using this technique, including a self-portrait.

Example works

There are many important works created based on pointillism, but some of the most important are the following:

  • Sunday afternoon on the island of La Grande Jatte (Seurat)
  • A bath in Asnieres (Seurat)
  • The Palace of the Popes in Avignon (Paul Signac)
  • The Blue Boat (Henri-Edmond Cross)
  • Cellular Nature (Chuck Close, contemporary artist)

Other types of pointillism

  • Monochromatic : there is the association or dissociation of points that produces a contrast with their background, this depends on how far apart the points are from each other.
  • Polychromatic : it is worked with spot colors by region or integrating colors and leftovers as part to produce volume.
  • Musical : looking for ways that the hearing relate the sounds so separate to interpret them as a melody. It seeks the dissociation of music and is the basis for the development and creation of musical images through musical pixels as a basic structure in the visual perception of the image.

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