Reference Library: Pointillism
'Pointillism' is a style of painting in which non-primary colors are generated by the visual mixing of points of primary colors placed very close to each other. The method is also known as Divisionism. This technique was in contrast to current methods of creating non-primary colors, including mixing pigment in the palette or using pigments out of a tube.
When viewed from a distance, the points or dots cannot be distinguished, and blend optically into each other. This means that with the same set of primaries, pointillists generate a different range of colors when compared to artists using traditional colors or color-mixing techniques. The result is sometimes described as brighter or purer since the eye does the mixing and not the brush. An explanation for this could be sought in the subtractive and additive theories of color.
Usually when colors are produced by pigments being mixed physically, the subtractive color theory is at work. Here the mixing of pigments of the primary colours produces less light; so if we mix red, blue and yellow pigments(subtractive primaries), we get a colour close to black. However when colours are produced by the mixing of light, then the additive color theory is at work. Here the mixing of lights of the three primary colours produces more light; so if we mix red, blue and green light(additive primaries) we get something close to white light. The brighter effect of pointillist colours could rise from the fact that subtractive mixing is avoided and something closer to the effect of additive mixing is obtained even through pigments.
The brushwork used to perform pointillistic color mixing is at the expense of traditional brushwork which could be used to delineate texture. Color television receivers and computer screens, both CRT and LCD, use tiny dots of primary red, green, and blue to render color, and can thus be regarded as a kind of pointillism.
Paul Gauguin, who had disliked Seurat ever since a quarrel, referred in a derogatory manner to Seurat's technique as 'petit-point'.
(See Georges Seurat for information on the scientific influences on pointillism.)
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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Pointillism".