Definition of pointillism in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈpwantɪlɪz(ə)m/


[mass noun]
A technique of neo-impressionist painting using tiny dots of various pure colours, which become blended in the viewer’s eye. It was developed by Seurat with the aim of producing a greater degree of luminosity and brilliance of colour.
Example sentences
  • The actual art-historical purpose of this show is to help Signac escape from the shadow of Georges Seurat, the master theorist of pointillism, or divisionism - the theory upon which Signac founded his own work.
  • Her interests in optical effects came partly through her study of the Neo-Impressionist technique of pointillism, but when she took up Op art in the early 1960s she worked initially in black-and-white.
  • After introducing Georges Seurat and pointillism, line desks with newspaper.



Pronunciation: /ˈpoɪntɪlɪst/
Pronunciation: /ˈpwantɪlɪst/
noun& adjective
Example sentences
  • Further European travel during the course of his life left an indelible impression on his work, particularly the painting of the symbolists, impressionists, Nabis, post impressionists, pointillists, Paul Cezanne, and Henri Matisse.
  • His starting-point was the Neo-Impressionism of Georges Seurat, but instead of using Seurat's pointillist technique he investigated the interaction of large areas of contrasting colours.
  • The sheer size of both works easily reveals each grain of color within the picture plane so that they appear as contemporary reflections of the pointillist style of Georges Seurat.


Pronunciation: /ˌpwantɪˈlɪstɪk/
Example sentences
  • Under her they merely turn from pointillistic snapshots into abstract expressionism.
  • Blurred shapes, black-velvet shadows, and pointillistic details crowd Lindsay's gorgeous monochrome visions of trout, bugs, and anglers found streamside from Wyoming to British Columbia.
  • Since tightly integrated systems are likely to serve critical survival functions (such as feeding, locomotion or escape), the resistance to pointillistic, adaptive modification of individual characters might be very great, indeed.


Early 20th century: from French pointillisme, from pointiller 'mark with dots'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: poin¦til|lism

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.