Art History Lab

Post-Impressionism: A Revolutionary Movement That Redefined Art

Post-Impressionism: A Movement That Gave Birth to an Artistic Revolution

Have you ever heard of Post-Impressionism? This movement emerged in the late 19th century as a rejection of traditional Impressionism that dominated the art world.

It was a time of stagnancy, and artists were looking for a way to push the boundaries. In this article, well explore Post-Impressionism, its emergence, and the artists who defined it.

Definition, Emergence, Stagnancy, Change, Post-Impressionism

Post-Impressionism was a movement that started in France in the late 19th century, a time when artists were identifying issues with traditional Impressionism. While Impressionism focused on capturing the landscape and the momentary effects of light on it, Post-Impressionism aimed at expanding the possibilities of art.

It emphasized formal qualities such as the use of vivid colors, the application of paint in thick impastos or big brushstrokes, and the use of broken lines and forms. The roots of Post-Impressionism lay in the stagnancy that came with the waning years of Impressionism.

The artists felt as though Impressionism had run its course, and it was necessary to move on. They aimed at shaking up the art world, exploring new techniques, and expanding the boundaries of art.

Characteristics, Vivid Colors, Cloisonnism, Texture via Impasto

While Impressionism was characterized by delicate and soft tones, Post-Impressionism used vivid and bold colors. Post-Impressionism also brought with it the concept of Cloisonnism, a style that relies on black outlines to separate bright colors and create a stained glass effect.

Texture was added via impasto, with artists intentionally thickening the paint and creating visible brush strokes that were unique to each painter.

One artist that defined the use of impasto in Post-Impressionism was Vincent van Gogh.

His painting Starry Night is an excellent example of the technique. The intense lines and color variations created a sense of movement and expressiveness that is iconic and profound.

Post-Impressionist Artists, Paul Czanne, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Georges Seurat

Knowing the artists that defined Post-Impressionism gives you an excellent understanding of the movement. Paul Czanne was one of the earliest Post-Impressionist painters, and he is known for his explorations of color, form, and depth.

Paul Gauguin was a French Post-Impressionist artist who rejected traditional notions of Western art and embraced the freedom of expression that Post-Impressionism offered. His works are characterized by bright colors and exotic subjects.

Vincent van Gogh is perhaps one of the most famous Post-Impressionist painters. He is known for his use of bold color and thick impasto, and his work often features dramatic landscapes and still lifes.

Georges Seurat was another master of Post-Impressionism. He was known for employing pointillism; a technique that used tiny dots of color that, when viewed from a distance, blend into an image.

Famous Post-Impressionist Paintings, Boy in a Red Vest, The Starry Night, The Circus, Tahitian Women on the Beach, At the Moulin Rouge, Large Interior with Six Persons

Post-Impressionist painting produced iconic works that continue to influence art even today. One famous piece is the Boy in a Red Vest, painted by Paul Czanne.

The painting features a young boy sitting in a chair and wearing a red vest, and its considered to be one of Czannes most famous works. Another iconic painting is Vincent van Goghs Starry Night.

It is a depiction of the village of Saint-Remy under a dramatic and starry sky. The painting is a representation of van Goghs state of mind at the time.

The Circus by Georges Seurat is also an iconic work. Seurat painted it using pointillism, and the painting features a circus clown performing on stage.

Another famous painting is Tahitian Women on the Beach by Paul Gauguin. The painting depicts women lounging by the sea and features vivid colors and exoticism.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrecs At the Moulin Rouge, and Large Interior with Six Persons by Edward Hopper are other examples of famous Post-Impressionist paintings that are still highly regarded to date.


In conclusion, Post-Impressionism was a movement that emerged as traditional Impressionism declined. It pushed the boundaries of art, and its artists experimented with new techniques and expanded the possibilities of painting.

Some of the artists who defined it included Paul Czanne, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, and Georges Seurat. Their works continue to be celebrated, and they influence art even today.

Significance of post-Impressionism, move away from traditional interpretation, humanization of the artist, acceptance of art as self-expression

Post-Impressionism was a significant movement, not just for the art world, but also for society as a whole. It represented a shift away from traditional interpretation and toward a more subjective, self-expressive form of art.

It humanized the artist, allowing them to portray their feelings, thoughts, and experiences through their art. Post-Impressionism represented a period of artistic growth and experimentation.

It allowed for greater interpretative freedom and self-expression in art. It was a time where artists like Vincent van Gogh and Paul Cezanne could express themselves freely and create art that was deeply personal.

They understood that art is not just a representation of the external world, but also of the internal one. Van Gogh’s self-portrait is a perfect example of this move away from traditional interpretation and the acceptance of art as self-expression.

In this painting, the artist portrays himself with a blue background and yellow straw hat that juxtaposes against his fiery red hair and intense gaze. The painting is an illustration of the deep-seated emotions that the artist felt and the difficulties that he faced.

Transition from Impressionism, Monet’s self-portrait, Van Gogh’s self-portrait

Post-Impressionism marked a transition from Impressionism, allowing artists to break free from the confines of tradition and create more expressive and subjective works of art. However, the transition was not immediate, but instead gradual.

Monet’s self-portrait is an excellent example of this transition. The painting is a representation of his attempt to move away from Impressionism and break free of the traditional tropes of portraiture.

The brushstrokes and the patches of color capture the spontaneity and immediacy of the moment without sacrificing the form and structure of the figure. Van Gogh’s self-portrait, painted in the same year as Monet’s, is a departure from traditional self-portraiture.

The painting shows a man whose face is marked with furrows, tired eyes, and patchy hair, in stark contrast to the airbrushed and idealized self-portraits of his contemporaries. The painting captures the complexity and fragility of human emotions and is a reflection of the artist’s deep-seated feelings and emotions.

Post-Impressionism as a rejection of Impressionism, freedom of artistic expression

Post-Impressionism represented a rejection of Impressionism’s naturalistic style and rejection of its over-reliance on the external world. The artists of the post-Impressionist era aimed to create works that captured their inner emotions, thoughts, and experiences.

They aimed to break free from tradition and create works that were more vibrant, expressive, and meaningful. Freedom of artistic expression was a significant aspect of Post-Impressionism, one that allowed for experimental styles and techniques that were not possible during the Impressionist era.

This allowed artists to infuse their work with passion, energy, and a deep sense of meaning. Other notable post-Impressionist artists, Paul Signac, Henri Rousseau, Edvard Munch, Pablo Picasso, Nils Dardel

While Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cezanne, and Georges Seurat were some of the most famous post-Impressionist artists, there were others who left their mark on the movement.

Paul Signac was one such artist, known for his contributions to the pointillism technique. Henri Rousseau was another post-Impressionist artist who was celebrated for his use of exotic themes and vivid, dreamlike landscapes.

Edvard Munch, a Norwegian artist, was most famous for his painting, “The Scream.” The painting features a figure with hands over their ears, mouth agape, and eyes wide with fear. The painting is a representation of the artist’s fear of life and society.

Pablo Picasso, one of the most famous artists of all time, was also a post-Impressionist painter. His works like “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” and “Guernica” showcase his experimental use of color, form, and line.

Nils Dardel, a Swedish artist, was known for his portraits, which showcased a blend of whimsy and surrealist elements that were not commonly seen during his time.


Post-Impressionism was a revolutionary period that gave birth to a movement that was arguably more experimental and expressive than any preceding movement. The artists allowed themselves greater interpretative freedom and the ability to express themselves in ways never before thought possible.

Post-Impressionism marked a significant departure from tradition, gave rise to several iconic works of art, and left an indelible mark on the art world as a whole. In summary, Post-Impressionism was a significant movement that emerged as a rejection of traditional Impressionism.

It allowed artists to break free from traditional interpretations, embrace freedom of artistic expression, and make art that was deeply personal. Notable post-Impressionist artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cezanne, Georges Seurat, Paul Signac, Henri Rousseau, Edvard Munch, Pablo Picasso, and Nils Dardel left an indelible mark on the art world with their iconic works.

The movement marked a shift away from traditional art, and it emphasized the acceptance of subjective, self-expressive art. The main takeaway from this article is that Post-Impressionism was a revolutionary period that recognized the importance of personal expression, which has deeply influenced the way art is perceived and created even today.

Popular Posts