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Imagine a vibrant sunset, not captured in fleeting brushstrokes of pure color, but sculpted with bold lines and swirling patterns. This is the world of Post-Impressionism, a movement that emerged in the late 19th century as a reaction to Impressionism, building upon the revolution ignited by the former movement but venturing into bolder, more expressive territory.

While Impressionists reveled in capturing light and atmosphere, Post-Impressionists delved deeper, exploring the emotional and symbolic potential of art. They embraced the freedom of their predecessors, rejecting rigid rules and traditional subject matter, but their canvases pulsated with a new energy, a desire to convey not just the surface of a scene, but its inner essence.

This divergence manifested in several ways:

  • Emphasis on Form and Structure: While Impressionists dissolved forms into light and movement, Post-Impressionists like Cezanne reintroduced structure, using geometric shapes and bold outlines to create a sense of stability and order.
  • Symbolism and Emotion: Gauguin, for instance, imbued his paintings with spiritual and symbolic meanings, using vibrant colors and simplified forms to evoke emotions and tell stories beyond the literal.
  • Expressionism and Distortion: Van Gogh's swirling brushstrokes and distorted forms were a direct assault on realism, aiming to convey the raw emotion and inner turmoil of the artist.

Post-Impressionism's significance lies in its role as a bridge between Impressionism and the 20th century's artistic revolution. It challenged the notion of art as mere representation, paving the way for a deeper exploration of emotions, symbolism, and the artist's inner world.

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Did You Know?

Did you know that the Post-Impressionist movement, like the Impressionist movement, was also named by a journalist/art critic? Roger Fry coined "Post-Impressionism" as the title of an exhibition at the Grafton Galleries, London, in 1910-1911: "Manet and the Post-Impressionists."

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