Neo-impressionism – (French neoimpressionisme) – a kind of post-impressionism; the artistic direction in painting that arose in France around 1885, the main theorist and inspirer of which was Georges Seurat.
Developing the artistic and aesthetic principles of late impressionism, which showed an increased interest in optical phenomena in nature, neo-impressionists sought to bring to a logical conclusion the empirical findings of their predecessors based on scientific achievements, to convey with the help of pictorial techniques all the wealth of optical effects.
The main pictorial method of the new trend was divisionism – a system based on the purposeful decomposition of a complex color tone into pure colors, which were applied to the canvas with separate strokes. Based on divisionism, Seurat and Signac developed an unusual writing technique – pointillism, which consisted in the fact that paints were applied to the canvas in the form of small dots and squares, which, when perceiving the painting from a certain distance, were optically merged into the viewer’s retina into the forms and images created by the artist.
For the first time, the canvases of neo-impressionists were shown in 1886 at the exhibition of the Salon of Independents and at the Eighth exhibition of impressionists, where they were ridiculed by critics and spectators, but received support from artists, especially Belgians (The Group of Twenty), who repeatedly invited Seurat and his followers to participate in their exhibitions.
The pointillist writing technique attracted the attention of both young artists (Cross, Luce, Lemmen, etc.) and the elder of the painting workshop Camille Pissarro, who came into a new movement with his son Lucien. However, it also became the reason that in the 1890s. many artists (in particular Pissarro and Luce) left the ranks of neo-Impressionists, feeling that pointillism fetters their individuality.
Extremely bright, contrasting, exquisitely beautiful paintings by neo-impressionists turned out to be somewhat abstract, coldly rational, devoid of immediate emotionality, a play of feelings, reminding more of decorative panels than paintings.
Masters of neo-impressionism: Georges Seurat, Paul Signac, Camille Pissarro, Lucien Pissarro, Henri Edmond Cross, Charles Teofil Angran, Maximilian Luce, Hippolytus Ptizhan, Georges Lemmen, Theo Van Risselberg, Giovanni Segantini.