Module 4 Discussion 2 Post Impressionism

This discussion is centered on Post Impressionism as a movement in later 19th Century Art

All websites in this discussion page besides the Lumen Learning text is supplemental, and is not required to successfully complete the learning outcomes of this module.

Vincent Van Gogh       

So much has been written about Vincent Van Gogh, and he is a perfect example of the “mad” artist. Someone whose paintings are seen as evidence that he was gifted, but crazy. When he tried to cut off his ear, and give it as a gift to a prostitute, or to his friend Paul Gauguin, he proved that he had issues.

Find out about Van Gogh, and share with the class the most recent findings on his life.

Paul Cezanne

Remember when we discussed the idea that a painting of flowers might be about death?

Yes, the Vanitas paintings are often beautiful, but are meant as a moral discussion about something spiritual.

What is Cezanne’s still life below about?

How are Cezanne’s paintings of fruit, or mountains, or the nude bathers, different than previous paintings with the same subject?

How did Cezanne lead us to the Cubist movement by Pablo Picasso, and George Braque?

And how did cubism lead into the 20th century, and abstraction?…he-dead-watching/

Paul Gauguin left France, and lived for a short time with Van Gogh. Eventually, he ended up on the tropical island of Tahiti, where he rejected modern life. He wanted to live in what he thought was paradise, and painted romantic paintings of the native culture.

Share with the class research on this unique artist, including some of his other paintings.

Georges Seurat

Seurat was a unique member of the original impressionists, with many different subjects, and techniques. 

His bright dots painted carefully to blend together was called Pointillism, or Divisionism.

His “Sunday Afternoon on the Island of la-grande-Jatte”, is one of the masterworks of the Impressionist period in art history. 

If you study the drawings by Seurat, you will notice that the paper has a texture, which shows up as black dots, as the artist touched the drawing with hard chalks.

At the time Seurat was painting in Paris, there were two brothers in France making the first color photographs. The Lumiere brothers made advances in motion pictures, and color photography.!/search?q=lumiere%20photography

Research early color photography, and the connection to Seurat. Use the Google Art Project link above to view his painting. You can zoom in forever, and really see the dots. I have included an early color photograph of the painter Claude Monet. You can see the dots in the areas of color. 

If we look back in art history, we might find some interesting art that might have interested Seurat. Look at this mosaic that students study in Art History I that can be seen in a church in Ravenna, Italy. This is the Emperor Justinian of the Byzantine Empire. 

It is a mosaic, made up of colored tiles and glass. It is designed to shimmer when natural daylight moves through the room. 

Research this mosaic, and you will also find his wife’s mosaic on an opposite wall. It is the type of work that might have interested Seurat.

Seurat Drawings at the Modern Museum of Art


Most of you have seen dancers painted by Degas. Most of the time, Degas is lumped in with earlier impressionists. I have included him here, because his interest in painting figures over landscapes, is a better fit.

His compositions were influenced by early photography, and can be seen as snapshots. His many drawings, and even sculptures, would be a great topic of your research.