Pointillism, a branch of Impressionism, is a painting technique in which the artist uses dots to create a pattern or image. Most of us would know pointillism’s modern form– pixel art.

Pixel art by 98 year-old Hal Lasko. Buy his paintings here.

I stumbled upon pointillism when I read about the play Sunday in the Park with George, a musical that draws inspiration from Georges Seurat’s painting ‘ A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte’. George Seurat, a French post-impressionist, devised the technique of pointillism.

‘A Sunday on La Grande Jatte’ – 18841884/86 (Source: Art Institute Chicago)

This technique of painting was mocked in it’s early days as it went against traditional methods of painting. Rather than mixing pigments, pointillism involves the use of dots of individual colour. Thus, any gradient of colour across a canvas would in fact consist of thousands of dots subtly changing colour and shades to create depth and perspective. In short, it’s a really time consuming  technique that requires and incredible amount of skill.

Here are some spectacular examples of Pointillism:

‘Circus Sideshow’ by Georges Seurat (Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art)
‘The Papal Palace, Avignon’ by Paul Signac (Source: WikiArt)
‘The Channel of Gravelines, Petit Fort Philippe’ by Georges Seurat (Source: Wikiwand)
‘The Jubilee Plantation’ (1980) by William Wilkins (You can buy his work here)

Pointillism is still alive and used as an inspiration for artists across various fields. Take for example, tattoo artist Ervand Akopov’s intricate designs:


Minsk artist Yuriy Skorohod specialises in “dot work art”. His art is so detailed, it is nearly impossible at first glance to see that he uses pointillism.

‘The American Dream’

To truly appreciate pointillism is to watch the process unfurl. You can watch that happen in artist Miguel Endara’s video recording of his creation ‘Hero’ from 2011.


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