Art History and Artists
The Impressionist artists opened up a new world of modern art. The Post-impressionists wanted to continue to stretch those boundaries. The term was coined by Roger Fry, a British art critic, to describe the artists who came immediately after the Impressionists.
When was the Post-impressionism Era?
Post-impressionism began with a new generation of artists after the Impressionists such as Monet, Degas, and Renoir. It lasted approximately from 1885 to 1910.
What are the characteristics of Post-impressionism?
The Post-impressionists had learned about using light, shadows, and colors in their art from the Impressionists. They wanted to add their own new ideas to art. They began to try new subjects, techniques, perspectives, and shapes to express their thoughts and emotions in art.
Examples of Post-impressionism Art
Starry Night (Vincent van Gogh)
Starry Night by van Gogh is one of the most famous paintings in the history of art. The painting shows a small town (Saint-Remy) under a night sky of swirling stars. There is a large dark cypress tree to the left. Van Gogh used thickly applied paint and painted with a passion. He painted Starry Night while in an insane asylum in 1889.
The Sleeping Gypsy (Henri Rousseau)
The precise outlines, geometric shapes, bright colors, and fantastical imagery give this painting a peaceful and serene feeling even though the lion is standing over the sleeping gypsy. Like many great paintings, it was not well-received in 1897, but has become very popular today.
The Burghers of Calais (Auguste Rodin)
One of the most famous sculptors from the Post-impressionist Era, Auguste Rodin was commissioned to make this sculpture of an event from the Hundred Years War. The city of Calais, France had been under attack by the English. The men in the sculpture were to go to the enemy dressed in rags and to sacrifice themselves for the city. The sculpture captures the emotional intensity of the moment.
Famous Post-impressionism Artists
- Paul Cezanne - Cezanne worked in the Impressionist style for a while and then broke out into his own style. He used small repetitive brush strokes and studied his subjects intensely. He broke up his paintings into blocks of color and shapes. His unique style gave rise to Cubism later.
- Paul Gauguin - Gauguin was a close friend of van Gogh (at least until they had the argument when van Gogh cut off part of his ear). His paintings moved away from impressionism by using strong outlines and childlike figures. Gauguin lived his later life in poverty. His art did not become famous until after his death.
- Auguste Rodin - Considered by many to be the father of modern sculpture, Rodin didn't want to be a radical, but his style was different from traditional sculpture. As a result, he was originally criticized for his art. Later in life, however, he became very famous and his work much sought after.
- Henri Rousseau - Rousseau was a self taught painter who is known for his colorful jungle scenes and precise painting. His style is sometimes called primitivism. He wasn't famous until later in life when his work was promoted by artists such as Picasso.
- Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec - Toulouse-Lautrec enjoyed painting the nightlife of Paris, especially a cabaret known as the Moulin Rouge. One of his paintings, The Laundress, sold for over $22 million in 2005.
- Vincent van Gogh - Considered by many to be one of the greatest artists in history, Dutch painter van Gogh lived in poverty and committed suicide at the young age of 37. His paintings are full of passion and originality.
- It was more of a period of painting rather than a style or movement. It was a time when many artists went their own way and developed their own style.
- Other styles that often fall under the era of Post-impressionism include Symbolism, Primitivism, Synthetism, Pointillism, and Neo-Impressionism.
- Just like Impressionism, the Post-impressionism movement was centered in France.
- Young painters Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse referred to Paul Cezanne as "the father of us all".
- Post-impressionism helped to inspire future movements of Modern Art such as Cubism, Surrealism, and Expressionism.
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