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Difference Between Impressionism and Postimpressionism

Impressionism vs Postimpressionism

Man has learned to artistically express himself through painting since several thousand years ago. It is the art of using paint, pigment, and color on a surface to produce illustrations of scenes, objects, people, and animals. There are many painting styles, visual elements, methods, and techniques that are used by an artist. There are: abstract, Photo-Realism, surrealism, modernism, impressionism, and postimpressionism.

Impressionism was an art movement which started in France in the 19th century. The term was derived from the title of an artwork by Claude Monet, “Impression, soleil levant.” Together with Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Sisley, Morisot, and Pissaro, they were several of the most famous impressionist painters.
Impressionism used small and thin brushstrokes that are visible and was about ordinary subject matter. It had open composition and unusual visual angles and it depicted light in a changing quality as in the passage of time and included movement as a necessary element. It gave more emphasis on color rather than lines and depicted realistic scenes which were painted outdoors. It involved candid poses, movement, and the use of diverse colors. It captured the heart and character of the subject.

Back paint was avoided in impressionism, and softer edges and an exciting mix of colors was achieved by mixing colors as little as possible and by placing paint over wet paint. The surface that was used in impressionism was opaque.
An impressionist painting usually appeared like a snapshot as if it was captured by chance. It was thought to be influenced by the rising popularity of the photograph and of Japanese art. Impressionism paved the way for Neo-impressionism, Fauvism, Cubism, and Postimpressionism.

Postimpressionism was developed in the form of impressionism and was used to refer to the works of younger artists such as Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, and Georges Seurat. Postimpressionist artists still used vivid colors, thick paint, distinct brushstrokes, and ordinary subject matter but stressed the use of geometric forms and unnatural colors.
Postimpressionist painters explored different directions and approaches to painting without concern about the appearance of their subjects. It paved the way for the development of modern art which was based largely on the emotions and concepts of the individual artist. While impressionism was done outdoors, postimpressionism was done inside a studio. It was a slower process and involved methodical processes.


1.Impressionism was a style of painting which emphasized color and depicted realistic scenes of ordinary subjects while postimpressionism was a style of painting which was derived from impressionism.
2.Impressionist paintings were done outdoors while postimpressionist paintings were done in a studio.
3.Postimpressionism used geometric form to depict its subjects while impressionism used small, thin brushstrokes that gave the painting softer edges.
4.Impressionism paved the way for Neo-impressionism, Fauvism, Cubism, and Postimpressionism while post impressionism paved the way for modern art.
5.Postimpressionism involved a more methodical and time-consuming process than impressionism.
6.Impressionism captured the heat of the subject while postimpressionism was based on the emotion and concept of the artist.

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  1. thanks for clarifying the differences between impressionism and post impressionism .

  2. Really confused about some of these points. Van Gogh was a post impressionist and finished paintings rapidly, in one day. It didn’t take any time at all. Also he, as well as other post-impressionists, often did not paint in a studio. Most of Van Gogh’s work was done in fields. So was Gauguin’s. Also, I’m not sure where all the geometric shapes are in post-impressionist paintings. A lot of it had to do with more pronounced and creative way of using color’s, but also using realistic, nature-based settings.

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